Asian Entertainment Stocks Tumble as Markets Experience "Black Monday"

AP
An investor looks on as the Shanghai stock exchange plunged into the red on "Black Monday"

Sharp falls on the Shanghai exchange have made investors jittery across the region as worries intensify about the slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

The bloodbath on the Shanghai stock exchange hit markets across the region on Monday, with entertainment stocks hurting as spooked investors pulled their money out of equities.

The Shanghai Composite index was down 8.5 percent at 3,209.91, extending last week's losses, defying Beijing's latest attempts to reassure investors and wiping out all of the gains made since the beginning of the year. Local media have already dubbed the day "Black Monday" in an echo to the stock market crash in 1987.

Combined with the recent devaluation of the yuan currency, the stock market slide adds to growing anxieties about the health of the Chinese economy. Nevertheless, Chinese box-office revenue is rising 30 percent annually, and film quotas are set to be lifted in coming years, which is expected to continue fueling growth.

In Shenzhen, Wanda Cinema Line, the theater operator unit of real estate group Dalian Wanda, was down 10 percent, while Beijing Enlight Media, in which Alibaba has a major stake, was also down 10 percent.

Trading in Huayi Brothers was halted in late July pending stock issue news.

In Hong Kong, stock in Alibaba Pictures was down 10.2 percent, while Chinese investment group Fosun, which is financing ex-Warner Bros. executive Jeff Robinov's Studio 8, was down 9.2 percent.

In Japan, the Nikkei index closed down 4.6 percent, its biggest daily drop in two years. China is Japan's biggest trading partner, with hundreds of billions of dollars moving annually between the world's second and third largest economies.  

Sony finished the day in Tokyo down 8 percent at 2,843.5 ($23.50), having been down 9 percent at one point. Sony stock had doubled over the last year, but has now given up more than half of that gain. Gaming rival Nintendo fell 8.2 percent, when both companies had been relishing the prospect of tapping the potentially huge Chinese market, where the 15-year ban on game consoles was lifted last month. Game software specialist Square Enix, publisher of titles including Tomb Raider and the Final Fantasy series, was battered even worse, losing more than 10 percent of its value.

Toho Co., Japan's biggest studio and distributor, lost 5.5%, while rival Shochiku shed 4 percent.

The TV sector was also hit hard, with Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings, operator of the TBS network, closing down 5.3 percent, Nippon Television Holdings (NTV) falling 4.9 percent, while Fuji Media Holdings (Fuji TV) dropped 3.8 percent.

India's Sensex index plunged by over 1,000 points during Monday's opening trading hours, the biggest intra-day crash this year. While the Indian rupee has been better off than other emerging market counterparts, it still slumped to 66.48 against the dollar, its lowest level since September 2013.

The impact was also being felt on media stocks, with a couple of hours still to go before the day's close. India's largest cinema chain PVR Cinemas was down by about 8 percent, while leading film and entertainment major Eros International saw its share slump by over 10 percent. Eros has been promoting its ErosNow digital service, which is considered to be a strong competitor when Netflix and Amazon's video services launch in India. Leading broadcasting and media group Zee Media was down 9.8 percent. Competing broadcaster TV18, which also runs a joint venture with Viacom18, was down 6.7 percent.

In a bid to reassure the markets, the Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan said that India's “macroeconomic factors are under control, as the economy is in a much better position relative to other economies.” He also added that, if required, the country's $380 billion in foreign exchange reserves could be used by the central bank to reduce currency price volatility.

In Australia, the market was down 4 percent at close, with local media reporting a state of "panic," at events in China, the nation's biggest export market. Australian companies are currently in the middle of reporting season.

Shares in Seven West Media, owner of top-rating TV network Seven, which last week reported a fall in profit and revenues, dropped 5 percent. Second-ranked TV broadcaster Nine Entertainment Co, which reports its full year results on Thursday, fell 3 percent. News Corp no longer trades on the Australian Securities Exchange.

South Korea's KOSPI index fell less than 2.5 percent, but was already in negative territory for the year. Korea's biggest movie producer and distributor CJ E&M Film Division, formerly known as CJ Entertainment, dropped less than 1 percent.

The red ink is expected to spread to Europe and America as markets open on Monday.

 

Pip Bulbeck in Australia and Nyay Bhushan in India contributed to this report.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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