Hong Kong shares suffer big loss

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Hong Kong - Hong Kong shares posted their biggest loss in more than two weeks on Thursday, led by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings on fears of greater competition after Facebook announced its purchase of mobile messaging startup WhatsApp.

Losses accelerated after the China flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 48.3 in February, a seven-month low, from January's final reading of 49.5.

The employment sub-index slid to its weakest in four years.

The Hang Seng Index finished down 1.2 percent at 22,394.1 points in its largest single day loss since February 4.

The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings sank 0.8 percent.

Tencent tanked 3.1 percent, while other technology-related counters also suffered as Lenovo Group dived 4.5 percent.

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) spiked 9.4 percent as investors cheered plans to sell up to 30 percent of its retail oil business to private investors in a move seen as the first signs of reform at a state-owned enterprise. - Reuters

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