Hong Kong's main index has worst day in more than 3 months

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hong Kong's benchmark index had its worst day in more than three months on Monday, with a small morning gain on a good flash China PMI number wiped out by across-the-board tumbles in the afternoon that seemed to catch analysts off guard.

The Hang Seng Index closed down 1.7 per cent at 22,804.81 points, its biggest daily percentage loss since March 20.

The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong slid 1.9 per cent, its worst day since April 15.

Traders seemed at a loss to explain the slide. Some said it was triggered by profit-taking by investors worried about a near-term correction on the index, which had held above the 23,000-level for two weeks.

Index futures-related trading was another factor, according to analysts.

Nearly all Hang Seng components fell. Property developers were some of the heaviest hit, with Sino Land down 3.9 per cent and New World Development off 2.5 per cent.

China's big four banks were all weaker. Bank of China sank 2.6 per cent to its lowest level since May 7, a big drag on the H-share index.

Great Wall Motor shed 4.5 per cent after mainland media reported changes in several management posts during the weekend.