* .HSI -0.2, .HSCE -0.1
* Potential changes to U.S. rate hikes, trade stance keep investors away
* China stocks, flat on Tuesday, offers little support
By Noah Sin
HONG KONG, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Stocks in Hong Kong eased slightly on Tuesday as investors stayed clear of potential volatility inspired by likely surprises at the G20 summit and the pace of rate hikes in the United States. Hopes for advances in the local market vanished after mainland stocks ended flat before the Hong Kong close. ** The Hang Seng index was down 0.2 percent at 26,331.96, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.1 percent. ** Sub indices of the Hang Seng headed in different directions. The index tracking energy shares dipped 1 percent, while the IT sector rose close to 1 percent. The financial sector ended 0.1 percent lower, and the property sector dipped 1.2 percent. ** Uncertainty over both the U.S.-China trade conflict and the Fed’s interest rate path are the two major factors weighing on the local equity market, said Patrick Yiu, managing director at CASH Asset Management in Hong Kong. ** U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that it was “highly unlikely” that he will halt the increase of tariffs on Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent at Beijing’s behest, scheduled for Jan 1. ** Meanwhile, Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve and his deputy are both due to speak this week, as global markets hope for a more dovish tone on further hikes. ** “Even with oil prices down, you can’t assume that rates will come down,” said Yiu. “We will need to wait for the job figures in the U.S. to get a better hint. On (whether the U.S. will increase) the tariffs, we should have a clear idea by the weekend.” ** The performance of the Chinese market also limited room for Hang Seng to turn positive in the afternoon session, said Yiu. The Shanghai Composite was flat, while the CSI300 blue chip index lost 0.1 percent. Trading volume in Shanghai was lower than the two preceding sessions. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was AAC Technologies Holdings Inc, up 3 percent, while the biggest loser was Wharf Real Estate Investment Company Ltd, down 2.4 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.6 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.9485 per U.S. dollar at 08:26 GMT, 0.12 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.9405. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Byd Co Ltd up 2.8 percent, followed by China Galaxy Securities Co Ltd , up almost 2 percent, and Tencent Holdings Ltd , up by 1.5 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Hengan International Group Company Ltd, which was down 2.2 percent, CNOOC Ltd, which fell 2 percent and China Pacific Insurance Group Co Ltd, down by 1.8 percent. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 15.92 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.
Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Sunil Nair