HONG KONG Nov 16 Hong Kong shares could end on a softer note on Friday, putting in a second straight week of losses as uncertainty over Europe's debt crisis, U.S. fiscal woes and China's economy prompt the market to retreat further from 2012 highs marked in early November.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index shed 1.6 percent to 21,108.9, its lowest since Oct. 11 and below chart resistance of about 21,200, the 23.6 percent Fibonacci retracement of its rise from September lows to November highs, pointing to further weakness ahead.
The Hang Seng Index is now down 1.3 percent on the week. It dived 3.3 percent last week.
The Hang Seng Index manager will publish the results of its quarterly review of the Hong Kong benchmark, after markets close on Friday in which it may add or exclude constituents.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.4 percent, while South Korea's was down 0.4 percent at 0057 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* China will cut gasoline and diesel prices by about 3 percent from Friday in response to declines in international crude oil prices, dealing another blow to loss-making refineries in the world's second-largest oil consumer. It was the fourth cut in fuel prices this year.
* Combined profits at China's state-owned non-financial enterprises fell 8.3 percent in the first 10 months of 2012 from a year earlier, slower than an annual fall of 11.4 percent in the January-September period, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.
* Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said its freight traffic rose 1.9 percent year-on-year in October, driven by the launch of a number of new hi-tech consumer products out of key manufacturing centres in the region.
* Macau's biggest casino operator, SJM Holdings Ltd , controlled by the family of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, posted a 41 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, buoyed by a larger number of mass market Chinese gamblers.
* China plans to triple its current subsidy for coalbed methane gas production to 0.60 yuan per cubic metre to encourage the development of the sector, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Friday, citing a government official.
* Manulife Financial Corp is increasing its dependence on Asia as a means to reach a C$4 billion core profit goal by 2016 and promises a departure from the volatile earnings that have plagued recent quarters.
* Nexen Inc's shares jumped nearly 3 percent on Thursday after a report suggested Ottawa might speed up its decision on whether to allow a $15.1 billion takeover of the Canadian oil producer by China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd .
* China Coal Energy Co Ltd said its coal sales volume rose 4.2 percent in October to 11.78 million tonnes while its commercial coal production volume fell 0.1 percent to 8.55 million tonnes.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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