December 18, 2018 / 8:45 AM / 4 months ago

Hong Kong stocks fall, tracking weakness in China, Asia

* .HSI -1.1 pct, .HSCE -1.2 pct

* HK tracks global markets’ fall, set off by grey economic outlook

* Pressure builds as Xi omits policy announcement in big speech

HONG KONG, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks slipped on Tuesday, hit by a double whammy of policy disappointment in China and depressing share prices across the region. ** The Hang Seng index fell 1.1 percent to 25,814.25, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index lost 1.2 percent. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 2.3 percent, the IT sector lost 2.4 percent, while the more defensive financial sector edged down 0.7 percent and the property sector shed close to 1 percent. ** Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Tuesday for the unswerving implementation of reforms on Beijing’s terms but refrained from offering new specific measures, disappointing some watching the anticipated speech marking four decades of reform and opening up in China. ** “The losses (in Hong Kong shares) in the morning session was a result of A-shares falling. Because the president didn’t touch on specific policies, the market found an excuse to sell,” said Steven Leung, director of sales at the brokerage UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong. ** Stocks in the city struggled to find support in the afternoon as regional markets remained lacklustre on the back of brewing concerns about a slowdown in global growth. MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was down 0.7 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.8 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.8957 per dollar at 08:24 GMT, 0.03 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.8975, having crossed the key level of 6.9 in afternoon trading. ** The local market’s poor performance on Tuesday “is not just about Hong Kong or China. The impact of the U.S. is quite big across Asia, including in Japan and Singapore,” said Leung. ** Interest rate-sensitive Hong Kong stocks will face another test later this week, as the U.S. Federal Reserve may deliver another hike during its meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Local investors will also be watching for policy details at China’s annual Central Economic Work Conference, also expected to be held by the leadership this week. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, which was down 4.2 percent, China Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd, which fell 4.1 percent and CNOOC Ltd, down by 4 percent. ** About 1.49 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 93.6 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 1.60 billion shares a day. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.07 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 18.65 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The short and one-factor leveraged Hang Seng index, which is designed to replicate the payoff of a short or leveraged portfolio and is linked to the movements of the Hang Seng Index, was higher by 1.05 percent on the day at 5,360.34.

Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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