China Stocks Plunge

Chinese shares plunged after three of the nation’s biggest brokerages were stopped from adding margin-trading accounts. Copper climbed in London and U.S. oil slipped after capping its first weekly advance since November.

The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 5.3 percent by 12:14 p.m. in Tokyo, heading for the biggest drop since Dec. 9 as brokerages plummeted. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s biggest mining company, was the second-biggest support to the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fluctuated in holiday trade. Oil in New York slipped 0.7 percent and U.S. natural gas dropped 3.8 percent. Copper in London rose after its biggest two-day gain since September 2013. The Swiss franc slipped 0.9 percent against the dollar.

Chinese regulators are tightening control of margin investing amid concern that a six-month, 63 percent stock surge may lead to instability. Stocks in the U.S., where markets are closed for Martin Luther King Day, jumped Jan. 16 as a rebound in oil tempered fallout from the Swiss National Bank abandoning a cap on the franc and lower earnings at Goldman Sachs (GS) Group Inc. The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan meet on policy this week while Greece holds an election Jan. 25 that may see an anti-austerity party take power.


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