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Hong Kong stocks weaken 0.61% in downwards correction
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20:29, April 30, 2008

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Hong Kong stocks retreated 0.61percent on Wednesday amid volatility, ending two consecutive days of rallying.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 84.12 points, or 0.32 percent, to open at 25,998.27 but turned around into negative territory during trading before falling 158.8 points, or 0.61 percent, to close at 25,755.35.

Turnover shrank to 82.61 billion HK dollars (10.59 billion U.S. dollars) from Tuesday's 88.68 billion HK dollars (11.37 billion U.S. dollars).

Market heavyweight HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, gained 0.52 percent to 135.1 HK dollars, lifting the index by 20.13 points alone.

China Mobile, the largest mobile phone operator in the country and the market's largest stock measured by market value, lost 1.4 percent to 134.1 HK dollars.

Energy companies headed towards different directions. PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, retreated 0.86 percent to 11.6 HK dollars. CNOOC, China's largest offshore oil producer, weakened 3.1 percent to 13.76 HK dollars from previous days of rallying. Sinopec, Asia's largest refiner, rose 0.61 percent to 8.27 HK dollars.

Hong Kong's property companies all fell as the market predicted the Federal Reserve's policy meeting this week might signal the end of the rate cut cycle, a move that Hong Kong will probably follow.

SHK Properties, the largest house developer in Hong Kong, inched down 0.51 percent to 136.5 HK dollars. Cheung Kong, one of the biggest housing companies controlled by tycoon Li Ka-shing, fell 1.46 percent to 121.4 HK dollars. Sino Land slumped 3.9 percent to 19.7 HK dollars. Henderson Land lost 1.82 percent to 59. 5 HK dollars. Hang Lung moved down 0.94 percent to 31.7 HK dollars. New World Development shed 2.66 percent to 20.1 HK dollars.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, the market's sole operator, lost 1.61 percent to 159.2 HK dollars.

China Enterprise Index, or H-shares, which was composed of 43 companies registered on the Chinese mainland, fell 67.58 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 14,230.25 despite the upsurge of stock markets in the Chinese mainland.

China's banking companies and insurers listed in Hong Kong were mixed. Heavily traded ICBC, China's largest lender, edged down 0. 16 percent to 6.17 HK dollars though it reported a 77 percent surge in net profits to 33.1 billion yuan (4.73 billion U.S. dollars) during the first quarter. China Construction Bank, the third largest bank in China, edged down 0.14 percent to 7.04 HK dollars. Bank of Communications failed to gain momentum from its report 170 percent increase in net profits to 7.89 billion yuan (1. 13 billion U.S. dollars) in first quarter and slumped 1.92 percent to 11.24 HK dollars.

Bank of China, the country's second largest bank, added 1.02 percent to 3.98 HK dollars. China Merchants Bank added 0.31 percent to 32.55 HK dollars. China Life, the country's largest life insurer, rose 0.15 percent to 33.8 HK dollars. Ping An increased 2 percent to 73.95 HK dollars. (7.8 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollars)


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