SYDNEY, NSW, Australia - Shares in Hong Kong tumbled on Wednesday as casino stocks were sold heavily on the back of foreshadowed reforms in the Macau gaming industry. With casino licenses up for renewal next year, investors were spooked by the idea of casinos becoming even more tightly regulated.
One of the biggest operators, Wynn Macau, lost more than a third of its value at one stage.
Total losses in the sector were well in excess of 100 billion Hong Kong dollars.
At the close on Wednesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 487.55 points or 1.91 percent at 25,014.68.
Elsewhere stocks were sold off in line with falls on overseas markets overnight.
"There is uncertainty in markets at the moment as investors wait to see what the Federal Reserve will do about tapering their asset purchases, which depends on the state of the labour market and the inflation situation," Sean Debow Asia CEO of Eurizon Asset Management told Reuters news agency Wednesday.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 shed 158.39 points or 0.52 percent to 30,511.71.
China's Shanghai Composite declined 6.38 points or 0.17 percent to 3,656.22.
The Australian All Ordinaries fell 17.10 points or 0.22 percent to 7,723.20.
On foreign exchange markets, the U.S. dollar was little moved. The euro was slightly stronger at 1.1813 around the Sydney close Wednesday. The British pound edged up to 1.3833. The Japanese yen was stronger at 109.59. The Swiss franc was unmoved at 0.9192.
The Canadian dollar weakened to 1.2687. The Australian dollar was weak at 0.7326. The New Zealand dollar was steady at 0.7098.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials were down 292.06 points or 0.84 percent at 34,577.57.
The Nasdaq Composite declined 67.82 points or 0.45 percent to 15,037.76.
The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 25.68 points or 0.57 percent to 4,443.05.