Hong Kong shares slip

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Hong Kong - Hong Kong stocks slipped 0.23 percent on profit-taking Friday but Shanghai closed at a 17-month high on hopes the Chinese government will introduce fresh measures to kickstart the world's number two economy.

The Hang Seng Index eased 57.77 points to 25,240.15 on turnover of HK$83.96 billion (R117 billion).

Investors took a breather after the index enjoyed a healthy rise over the week, adding more than two percent in response to upbeat US data and on hopes Beijing will move to support the Chinese economy.

Wall Street provided another soft lead, with all three main markets ending lower Thursday.

The Dow eased 0.05 percent, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.15 percent and the Nasdaq lost 0.22 percent.

The losses also came despite the European Central Bank's surprise decision to cut interest rates to record lows in a bid to fend off deflation.

It also unveiled other easing measures aimed at boosting lending to businesses and consumers.

Attention now turns to the release later in the day of US non-farm payrolls figures for August, with expectations for a healthy rise, which would put more pressure on the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy.

Energy giant CNOOC eased 0.51 percent to HK$15.46, Cathay Pacific Airways added 0.14 percent to HK$14.36 and China Life Insurance was 0.63 percent lower at HK$23.55.

China Mobile slipped 0.4 percent to HK$100.1, HSBC added 0.54 percent to HK$83.75 and CCB bank edged up 0.34 percent to HK$5.94.

However, in China the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.85 percent, or 19.57 points, to 2,326.43 - its highest close since March 2013 - on turnover of 185.8 billion yuan ($30.3 billion).

The index rose 5.45 percent over the week.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, added 0.40 percent, or 5.12 points, to 1,273.68 on turnover of 204.8 billion yuan, clocking up 5.07 percent over the week.

“Funds are flowing into the stock market due to expectations for Shanghai-Hong Kong connect and other supportive policies, betting on a bull market trend,” Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

China will likely launch in October a pilot programme to connect the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets, allowing investors in one location to trade on the other exchange.

Anticipated reforms for state firms allowing them operate in more market-oriented ways also supported the stock market, analysts said.

Heavyweight lenders were higher in Shanghai with the Bank of China gaining 0.74 percent to 2.74 yuan and ICBC up 0.56 percent at 3.61 yuan.

Shares linked to the Shanghai free-trade zone also gained.

Shanghai International Port Group soared by its 10 percent daily limit to 5.30 yuan and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Development added 2.52 percent to 29.71 yuan. - Sapa-AFP



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