April 4, 2019 / 9:15 AM / 2 months ago

Hong Kong shares edge down as news awaited on trade talks, U.S. jobs

* HSI -0.2 pct, HSCE -0.1 pct; A-shares up

* U.S. March non-farm payroll due on Friday, a HK holiday

HONG KONG, April 4 (Reuters) - The Hong Kong stock market slipped on Thursday as investors awaited announcement following the current round of Sino-U.S. trade talks and the release of a U.S. jobs report.

The Hong Kong will be closed on Friday for a holiday. ** At close, the Hang Seng index was down 0.2 percent at 29,936.32 points, tracking losses in regional markets, after earlier topping 30,000 for the first time since June 2018. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.1 percent on Thursday. ** The Hang Seng rose 3 percent this week, while H-shares gained 2.7 percent week-on-week. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 0.7 percent, while the IT sector lost 0.6 percent, the financial sector was flat and the property sector shed close to 1 percent. ** Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is in Washington for trade talks, will meet U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, the White House said. ** Bloomberg reported on Wednesday the U.S. wanted to set a 2025 target for China to meet trade pledges, obliging China to buy more U.S. commodities and allow full foreign ownership for U.S. companies operating in China. ** Should the two countries fail to reach a deal, an escalation in the trade war would drive manufacturing away from both countries and likely cause job losses, a International Monetary Fund report said on Wednesday. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.9 percent. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 1 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.4 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up almost 0.1 percent. ** Analysts pointed to investor fatigue and a lack of fresh headlines on the Sino-U.S. trade talks for Thursday’s sell-off in the region, while disappointing U.S. economic data this week also hung heavy on sentiment. ** Friday’s public holiday coincides with the release of non-farm payroll data in the United States, a key gauge of U.S. economy that may influence U.S. interest rate policy. Data earlier this week showed weak services sector activity. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd, which gained 3.2 percent, while the biggest loser was Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, which fell 2.1 percent. ** About 1.91 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.08 billion. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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