* Greenback strength sends Hong Kong stocks down
* HSI down 1.7 pct, H-share index drop 2 pct
* ZhongAn Online, worst H-share performer, lost 5.7 pct
By Noah Sin
HONG KONG, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks were poised for their third straight session of declines on Thursday as a firm dollar ramped up concerns over capital outflows, while the index tracked sluggish Asian peers lower with China markets being closed for National Day holiday.
** China’s financial markets are closed for the National Day holiday and will resume trade on Oct. 8.
** The Hang Seng Index was down 1.68 percent at 26,635.01, as of 0456 GMT; while Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong dropped 2.13 percent to 10,556.52. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index dropped 1.52 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index slipped 0.27 percent.
** Hawkish comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday pushed the U.S. dollar higher, putting pressure on Asian currencies.
** The offshore yuan is trading around 6.90, giving up gains on Wednesday. ** Weaker PMI figures in Hong Kong also weighed on the local market. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co Ltd, which dropped 5.68 percent, CNOOC Ltd, which lost 4.11 percent and China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd, which slipped 3.89 percent. ** The top gainers among H-shares were China Gas Holdings Ltd , which climbed 1.43 percent, followed by Guangdong Investment Ltd, which gained 0.72 percent and China Railway Group Ltd, which rose 0.39 percent. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares slid 3.19 percent, while the IT sector fell 2.01 percent.
Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips