March 31, 2017 / 8:18 AM / a year ago

Hong Kong stocks fall despite solid China economic data

March 31 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks slipped on Friday, with no inflows from mainland markets due to a coming holiday and investors balancing their positions at the end of the first quarter.

Trading was also impacted by the approaching holiday. Hong Kong will be closed on Tuesday, and mainland markets on Monday and Tuesday for a Chinese holiday.

The “Connect” schemes between mainland exchanges and Hong Kong were suspended starting on Thursday, and will open again on Wednesday, April 5.

The benchmark Hang Seng index dropped 0.8 percent, to 24,111.59, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.8 percent, to 10,273.67.

The market lost 1 percent for the week and gained 9.6 percent for the first quarter.

Reaction was largely muted to news that activity in China’s manufacturing sector, as measured by the official purchasing managers’ index (PMI), expanded at the fastest pace in nearly five years in March, beating expectations.

Linus Yip, a Hong Kong-based strategist at First Shanghai Securities, said halted capital inflows from China and investors’ unwillingness to trade before the holiday weighed on the market.

“But both are short-term effects and won’t change the market’s trend to gradually rise,” Yip said.

Sectors across the board lost ground in Hong Kong. (Reporting by Jackie Cai and John Ruwitch; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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