HONG KONG, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares erased early gains to finish flat, with investors shrugging off better-than-expected China industrial data that only partly alleviates concerns about slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
Activity in China’s factory sector edged up to a four-month high in February but export orders shrank at their fastest rate in 20 months, Wednesday’s flash HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed.
And on Wednesday, the Hong Kong government unveiled HK$34 billion ($4.4 billion) worth of sweeteners in its budget to prop up growth. The city’s economy grew 2.3 percent last year compared with a 2.9 percent expansion in 2013 and the government forecast growth of 1 percent to 3 percent this year.
Shares of casino operators dived, with Galaxy Entertainment and Sands China both dropping more than 5 percent.
The Hang Seng index rose 0.1 percent, to 24,778.28, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 percent, to 12,064.80 points.
Among the most actively traded stocks on Hong Kong’s main board were Ping Shan Tea Group Ltd, up 3.5 percent to HK$0.06; ICBC, down 0.7 percent to HK$5.66 and CCB , down 0.5 percent to HK$6.42.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 1.4 billion shares. (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)