July 12, 2019 / 8:48 AM / 3 months ago

Hong Kong shares little changed as investors digest fresh China data

July 12 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks were little changed on Friday, as investors digest a slew of China economic data released toward the end of the session to assess health of the country’s economy.

** Meanwhile, renewed worries over Sino-U.S. trade tensions offset optimism fuelled by Wall Street’s fresh highs overnight.

** The Hang Seng index rose 0.1%, to 28,471.62, while the China Enterprises Index was unchanged at 10,788.34.

** China’s trade surplus with the United States, a major source of friction with its biggest trading partner, rose to $29.92 billion in June from $26.9 billion in May, according to customs data released minutes before the closing bell. Newly-released data also showed China’s imports of iron ore, crude, coal, copper and soybeans fell in June from a month earlier.

** Meanwhile, worries over Sino-U.S. trade tensions resurfaced after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday China was not living up to promises it made on buying agricultural products from American farmers.

** Amid fears of global slowdown and growing trade protectionism, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated on Thursday that a rate cut is likely at the central bank’s next meeting.

** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 0.1%, while the IT sector dipped 0.63%, the financial sector ended 0.55% higher and the property sector rose 0.37%. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was China Life Insurance Co Ltd, which rose 1.81%, while the biggest loser was CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which fell 2.48%. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.44% at 2,930.55, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.62%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.1%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.2%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.8782 per U.S. dollar at 08:34 GMT, 0.06% weaker than the previous close of 6.874. ** The top gainers among H-shares were China Pacific Insurance Group Co Ltd up 3.61%, followed by Longfor Group Holdings Ltd, gaining 2.47% and New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, up by 1.89%. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Resources Beer Holdings Co Ltd, which was down 3.24%, CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which fell 2.48% and China Telecom Corp Ltd, down by 2.09%. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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