* Hang Seng falls 1.5%, H-shares down 1.5%
* China keeps key lending rate steady for fourth straight month
* AIA Group falls as H1 new business drops
HONG KONG, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares fell the most in nearly two weeks on Thursday, as hopes of further Chinese stimulus faded and poor corporate earnings and simmering Sino-U.S. tensions weighed on sentiment.
** The Hang Seng index closed down 1.5% at 24,791.39, marking its biggest daily percentage fall since Aug. 7. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index also fell 1.5%.
** China kept its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans steady for the fourth month. The country’s premier stressed last week it would not resort to a flood-like stimulus. Mainland shares fell.
** Index heavyweight and insurer AIA Group dropped as much as 4.7%, after posting a 37% fall in new business for the first half of the year. ** U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he postponed trade talks with China. A review the phase-1 trade deal scheduled for last weekend did not take place.
** The market regained some ground in late session after China’s commerce ministry said the two sides will hold the delayed talks “in the coming days”.
** The Hang Seng Index lacked upward momentum in the near-term amid AIA’s results and Sino-U.S. conflicts, and would likely fluctuate around 25,000, Guodu Securities said in a note. ** MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index fell 1.7%. ** About 2 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, more than the 1.13 billion in the previous session, which was shortened.
Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Rashmi Aich
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