June 6 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks rose slightly on Thursday, as hopes that the U.S. central bank could cut interest rates countered persistent worries about China’s economic growth amid escalating trade tensions with the United States.
** The Hang Seng index rose 0.3%, to 26,965.28, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.1%, to 10,334.32. For the holiday-shortened week, Hang Seng rose 0.2%. Hong Kong markets will be closed for Dragon Boat Festival on Friday.
** Mood in Hong Kong is aided by optimism on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve would consider cutting borrowing costs if growth slows amid heightened trade tensions. ** Investors remained concerned over health of China’s economy. China is expected to report a sharper drop in exports for May as higher U.S. tariffs bite, while imports are likely to contract in a further sign of weakening domestic demand that could spark more stimulus measures. ** A private survey showed on Wednesday that the country’s services activity grew at the slowest pace in three months in May, hit by a marked cooling in export sales.
** The sub-index of the Hang Seng, tracking energy shares , dipped 1.1%, while the IT sector fell 0.34%, the financial sector ended 0.33% higher and the property sector rose 1.02%. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, which gained 2.23%, while the biggest loser was CNOOC Ltd, which fell 1.78%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.11%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.01%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.916 per U.S. dollar at 08:40 GMT, 0.1% weaker than the previous close of 6.909. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Byd Co Ltd, up 5.76%, followed by China Telecom Corp Ltd, gaining 2.3%, and Great Wall Motor Co Ltd, up by 2.06%. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Tower Corp Ltd, which was down 4.02%, China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd, which fell 3.0% and China Railway Group Ltd, down by 1.9%. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom)