Hong Kong stocks close 1.08% lower

19:16, December 21, 2009      

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Hong Kong stocks fell for the fifth straight session Monday, with the benchmark index ending down 1.08 percent, or 227.78 points at 20,948.10.

The weighted Hang Seng Index opened 65.64 points lower at 21, 110.24. It moved between 20,932.77 and 21,178.45 during the session. Turnover fell to 49.69 billion HK dollars (6.41 billion U. S. dollars) from Friday's 69.75 billion HK dollars (8.99 billion U. S. dollars).

Analysts here said Hong Kong stocks closed weaker as investors found little guidance from overseas markets. They expect local shares to rebound slightly in the near term following the five straight days of losses, but continued weakness in property and banking stocks would cap any rise.

All the four major categories lost ground. The finance sub- index decreased most at 1.17 percent, followed by the properties at 1.53 percent, the commerce and industry at 0.85 percent, as well as the utilities at 0.74 percent.

China Enterprises Index dropped 131.65 points, or 1.07 percent, to close at 12,203.17 points.

Heavyweight HSBC Holdings slipped 1.09 percent to 86.50 HK dollars, and its local unit Hang Seng Bank also down 0.89 percent to 111.10 HK dollars. China Mobile lost 1.75 percent to close at 70.05 HK dollars.

The Chinese mainland commercial lenders ended mixed. ICBC lost 1.45 percent to 6.11 HK dollars, China Construction Bank dipped 1.26 percent to 6.28 HK dollars, while Bank of Communications closed up 0.11 percent at 8.74 HK dollars and Bank of China gained 0.50 percent to close at 4.05 HK dollars.

As for local developers, Cheung Kong, the flagship of Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka- shing dipped 1.09 percent to 95.00 HK dollars. Sun Hung Kai Properties, the largest residential housing developer in Hong Kong, fell 1.50 percent to 112.00 HK dollars. Henderson Land shed 1.09 percent to 54.40 HK dollars.

Stocks of insurance firms were weak. Top insurer China Life gave up as much as 3.97 percent to close at 36.30 HK dollars. Ping An fell 1.13 percent to 65.75 HK dollars.

The oil shares were also losers. PetroChina fell 1.31 percent, Sinopec down 0.60 percent, and offshore oil producer CNOOC, 0.84 percent. (7.749 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollar)

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