Hong Kong stocks finished Wednesday morning on a negative note following a plunge on Wall Street in response to weak US data, while traders were also spooked by fresh violence during a pro-democracy protest.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.3 percent, to 26,022 by the lunch break. The mainland markets were closed for holidays.

Adding to the selling pressure in Hong Kong were long-running concerns about the impact of increasingly violent pro-democracy protests in the city that saw a demonstrator shot and wounded by police on Tuesday.

Other Asian markets sank and the dollar struggled to bounce back following a worse-than-expected reading on US factory activity.

Manufacturing is “thought to be the specific chunk of the economy the president must… protect and the sector the US aggressive trade policies were supposed to enhance”, said Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market analyst at AxiTrader.

“So, the data could also imply not only monetary policy infusion is on the way but could increase the odds of some type of trade war detente.”

Tokyo ended the morning session 0.7 percent lower, Sydney fell 1.3 percent and Singapore lost 0.8 percent, with Taipei, Wellington and Manila also lower.

Seoul shed more than 1 percent after North Korea fired two missiles into the sea just a day after Pyongyang said it would resume stalled nuclear talks this week. (AFP)

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Last updated: 2019-10-02 HKT 12:47