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HK shares shed as investors wait for clues

HONG Kong stocks widened their losses during yesterday's trading amid cautious sentiment, as investors waited for clues from upcoming corporate earnings and economic indicators to see where the economy was going.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened down 95.97 points, or 0.54 percent, at 17,612.45 and widened its losses thereafter. It was down 2.06 percent by lunch break, and finished the day's trading off 2.56 percent at 17,254.63, building on moderate losses recorded in recent sessions. The index moved between 17,612.45 and 17,185.96.

The China Enterprises Index declined 2.79 percent.

Turnover totaled HK$52.55 billion (US$6.74 billion), compared with last Friday's turnover of HK$52.51 billion. Both were rather modest compared with the recent peak of more than HK$100 billion.

Only four of the 42 constituents of the Hang Seng Index gained.

Banking giant and market heavyweight HSBC lost HK$1.2, or 1.92 percent, to close at HK$61.35. China Construction Bank fell 3.04 percent and China Mobile shed 2.57 percent.

Investors were eying the interim results expected of leading financial players in the United States and some of the market heavyweights to tell whether the signs of recovery in the global economy had been sustained or the crisis would last.

Hang Seng Bank, the local unit of HSBC, lost 1.42 percent to close at HK$104.10. It was one of the few stocks staying above HK$100 a share.

ICBC, the biggest lender on the Chinese mainland, lost 2.77 percent at HK$4.92, and the Bank of China lost 2.84 percent to close at HK$3.42.


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