Henderson Land Slides After 20 Deals for Luxury Hong Kong Apartments are Called Off

Hong Kong property deals fall through
Hong Kong property deals fall through

In Asia Thursday Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.4% to 20,138 and China's Shanghai Composite dipped 0.4% to 2,560 after a three-day holiday. In Japan the Nikkei 225 Index lost 0.7%, ending the day at 9,999.

Luxury developer Henderson Land sank 2.3% today on the news that sales of several apartments in its new 39 Conduit Road building (pictured) in Hong Kong's Mid-Levels have fallen through. The canceled deals include the sale of a $57 million penthouse apartment touted as the most expensive real estate in the world at $11,295 per square foot when the deal was made last October.

According to the Financial Times, the penthouse buyer also scrapped five other purchases within the building. Henderson Land said a total of 20 deals for apartments in the tower were abandoned and the company will take a charge of $94 million against its earnings.

Some have taken the news of the botched deals as a sign that measures to cool Hong Kong's property market may be working. Among other restrictions, buyers now have to put down 40% of the purchase price and have a shorter period of time to complete their purchases. But other Hong Kong developers gained today: New World Development climbed 1.8%, Sino Land was up 1%, Sun Hung Kai advanced 0.9% and Cheung Kong inched up 0.3%.

Clothing and shoe exporters gained ground with Li & Fung, supplier of merchandise to America's Abercrombie shops and Wal-Mart and Target mega-stores, surging 4.4% and Li Ning, a shoe and clothing manufacturer, also soaring 4.4%. Yue Yuen, which makes popular lines for Nike, Adidas and Puma, rose 3.8%.

Other big winners on the Hong Kong board included Standard Chartered, which gained 4.1% and Cnooc, which rose 2.3%.

In China, shares in drug companies plunged. Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, which distributes pain killers, antibiotics and tumor drugs mainly to Chinese customers, slumped 8%. Shandong Dong-E E-Jiao, a traditional medicine company that specializes in making a gelatinous substance from donkey skin used as a remedy for blood disorders, sank 4.5%.

Steel producers also led the major index lower. Maanshan Iron & Steel and Hebei Iron & Steel both sank 1.2% and Baoshan Iron & Steel declined 1% after predictions that prices could fall.

In Japan, exporters suffered after U.S. data showed a decline in housing starts. Sony sank 2.8% and Panasonic fell 2.6%. Pioneer dropped 2.5% and Casio Computer declined 2.3%.

Car companies closed lower with Mazda down 2.5%, Toyota losing 1.1% and Honda declining 0.8%. Alps Electric, which makes electronic parts for cars, dived 2.6% and Jtekt, a provider of Toyota parts slid 0.7%.

Meanwhile, Nintendo continued yesterday's upward trajectory, rocketing up 5.2% today on the tails of this week's unveiling of the 3DS, Nintendo's latest hand-held device, which is scheduled to appear in shops later this year. If Americans don't buy Japan's cars, they may be content to zip around in their virtual ones.