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Jan 29 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares fell on Thursday, dragged down by weakness in regional markets, especially losses on the mainland, and as investors braced for an imminent rise in U.S. interest rates.
Chinese shares fell for a third day after the official Xinhua news agency said the country's stock regulator would investigate the margin business of 46 companies, amid concerns share markets are becoming over-leveraged and vulnerable to a crash.
"Investor sentiment was hurt by the falls on mainland markets, and losses in the U.S. led the Hang Seng to fall further," said Sam Chi Yung, strategist at Delta Asia Financial Group in Hong Kong.
"The Fed probably will not postpone its interest rate hike, which made (Hong Kong) investors nervous," he said.
The Hang Seng index fell 1.1 percent, to 24,595.85 points, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.9 percent, to 11,736.09 points.
Among the most actively traded stocks on Hong Kong's main board were Artini China Co Ltd, up 9.2 percent at HK$0.14, China Construction Bank, down 1.6 percent at HK$6.25 and Bank Of China, down 2.3 percent at HK$4.35.
Chinese investment flowing from Shanghai into Hong Kong through the mutual market access pilot programme took up 0.58 billion yuan ($92.86 million) of the 10.5 billion yuan daily quota.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 1.9 billion shares.
$1 = 6.2460 Chinese yuan Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong