Chinese shares plummet in morning trading

Dow loses more than 550 points as markets tumble

Frank Benzimra, head of Asia equity strategy at Societe Generale in Hong Kong, said Chinese shares were mostly falling because they were being dragged down by the US correction but he also had some China-specific worries. Even after this week's losses, the S&P 500 index is up 12.5 percent over the past year.

The S&P 500 is down 9.3 percent from the record high it set January 26.

The market began falling in the first few minutes of trading, and the pace of the declines worsened as the day wore on.

The sell-off in global stocks that briefly looked to have ended mid-week has come back, tipping markets from the USA to Asia into declines exceeding 10 per cent from their January highs. It's still up 15 percent over the past year. Numerous companies that rose the most over the a year ago have borne the brunt of the selling. The top gainer on Hang Seng was AAC Technologies Holdings Inc up 4.17 percent, while the biggest loser was CNOOC Ltd which was down 2.05 percent.

China's blue-chip CSI300 index was down 1.14 percent, with its financial sector sub-index lower by 2.64 percent, the consumer staples sector up 1.63 percent, the real estate index down 1.68 percent and healthcare sub-index up 0.95 percent.

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Wall Street turmoil engulfed major Asian markets on Friday, racking up more losses in a brutal week for trading.

The market got off to a mixed start on Thursday but has fallen steadily as the morning wore on.

The top gainers among H-shares were Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co Ltd up 1.63 percent, followed by China Vanke Co Ltd gaining 1.58 percent and Byd Co Ltd up by 1.55 percent. Hong Kong's benchmark index was down 3.1% at 29,508.89 as of 9:58am, heading for a weekly loss of 9.5%, its worst since 2008.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 400 points, or 1.6 percent, to 24,491.

Stocks are mixed in the early going as traders digest a batch of company earnings reports.

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Hanesbrands sank 8.8 percent after its results came up short of analysts' foreacasts. Accern also assigned media coverage about the Wireless communications provider an impact score of 45.1989588840299 out of 100, meaning that recent press coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an impact on the company's share price in the near term.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,679.

The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.86 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.69 percent. The Nasdaq composite edged up 10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,061.

Pressure on U.S. stocks again came from the Treasury market, where another weak auction put gave bond bears ammunition, sending the 10-year yield as high as 2.88 per cent. Equity investors took the signal to mean interest rates will push higher, denting earnings and consumer-spending power.

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