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Hong Kong’s stock benchmark has taken a sharp dive into negative territory as the share prices of a handful of large mainland companies turned south.

The Hang Seng was down 0.9 per cent in mid-morning trade. Less than half an hour into the session, the index was up by as much as 0.2 per cent, but around 10.11 local time, the index started to tumble, falling by as much as 1 per cent.

The losses are being led by insurer AIA Group, which is down 1.2 per cent. As the fourth-heaviest weighting in the index, AIA represents 22.1 points, or 13 per cent, of the Hang Seng’s overall 161.6-point drop.

The next biggest drags are China Construction Bank, down 1 per cent, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, down 1.4 per cent, and Bank of China, down 1.6 per cent.

Also weighing heavily on the 50-member index are China Mobile, China Life Insurance, PetroChina, Cnooc and Ping An Insurance.

The China Enterprises Index, which tracks mainland companies listed in Hong Kong, is down 1.2 per cent.

HSBC, the second-largest weighting in the Hang Seng, was clinging to gains and was up 0.1 per cent.

Chart courtesy of Bloomberg

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