The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index, after passing the 30,000-milestone on Monday, fell 2.6% on Tuesday as traders booked profits from a strong January rally. Even with the day's setback, the Hang Seng is up 7.9% year-to-date, an upsurge that some commentators said resulted in too-high valuations.
The broad gauge Hang Seng retreated 767.75 to 29,391.26, as losing issues outnumbered gainers 37 to 13.
Leading the upside were Wharf Real Estate (1997:HK), up 2.9%, followed by Hang Lung Properties (101:HK), up 1.5%, and then state-conglomerate CITIC (267:HK), up 1.1%.
On the downside were the exchange itself, the Hong Kong Exchanges (388:HK), off 7.2%, and then internet-media giant Tencent (700:HK), off 6.3%.
The Hang Seng TECH Index fell back 2.3%, but the Hang Seng REIT Index managed a 0.3% gain.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite fell 1.5% to 3,569.43.
In economic news, China should stop setting annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth goals, as such targeting leads to excessive borrowing and debt, warned Ma Jun, a policy committee member of the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and its former chief economist, The South China Morning Post newspaper reported. Beijing should concentrate on employment and controlling inflation as policy goals, Ma said.