February 23, 2017 / 8:22 AM / a year ago

Hong Kong stocks end weaker after Fed minutes, profit-taking

Feb 23 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks edged lower on Thursday, after the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed some policy uncertainty even as there was broad consensus on rates having to rise further.

The benchmark Hang Seng index dropped 0.4 percent, to 24,114.86, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.2 percent, to 10,521.53.

Profit-taking picked up after the city’s main index ended near an 18-1/2-month high on Wednesday, but it was partly countered by sustained money inflows from the mainland.

Southbound inflows through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect used 2.6 billion yuan ($378.12 million), or 25 percent of Thursday’s daily quota, which eased from 43 percent in the previous session but was still above an average of less than 11 percent in January.

Most sectors retreated at the close in Hong Kong, led by resource stocks, which shed 1.1 percent due to a weak commodities market on the mainland.

The financial sector was down 0.6 percent, as the Fed’s mixed stance hurt investor confidence in banks.

Real estate stocks gained 0.4 percent, bucking the broad trend. Hong Kong’s borrowing costs closely track that of the United States due to a currency peg to the dollar. ($1 = 6.8762 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Jackie Cai and John Ruwitch; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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