(Bloomberg) -- Shares of Chinese electric-vehicle makers plunged in Hong Kong on Friday amid rising concerns about the sector's growth outlook.
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Li Auto Inc. shares fell 15%, the largest drop since March, leading the losses among Chinese electric-vehicle start ups. Nio Inc. and XPeng Inc. tumbled over 6% while sector bellwether BYD Co. declined 3.7%.
Once a bright spot in China's embattled stock market, electric-vehicle makers have seen their fortunes wane amid bets that demand will shift into lower gear as global growth slows. The shares' expensive valuations and a raft of negative headlines including a reduction of Warren Buffett's stake in BYD have also hurt sentiment.
"There is some market speculation today of Li Auto's L8 orders being weaker than expected," said Daisy Li, fund manager at EFG Asset Management. "Investors have been worrying about electric vehicle demand into next year for a while and shares have been on a falling trend."
Traders cited unverified reports of weaker-than-expected holiday orders for the auto makers as a selling trigger. The companies typically do not release standalone data on holiday orders and investors will need to wait until next month to assess their monthly sales.
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Tesla's lackluster delivery and a disastrous trading debut of a Zhejiang Leapmotor Technologies Ltd. have also contributed to the weak sentiment in the sector.
"Investors are concerned on the EV growth next year," said Kelvin Lau, analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets. The drop in share prices was also fueled by concern that Li Auto's sales are dropping as the company transitions to a newer model.
The drop in share prices on Friday also reflected losses in the broader market. The Hang Seng Tech Index fell 3.3% while the benchmark Hang Seng Index declined 1.5%.
(Updates with Friday's closing prices)
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