April 7, 2017 / 8:24 AM / a year ago

Hong Kong stocks flat after U.S. missile attack on Syria

April 7 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks barely moved on Friday, with strength in energy stocks offset by the confidence-sapping news of the United States firing cruise missiles at an air base in Syria.

The benchmark Hang Seng index and the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index pared earlier losses and were roughly flat at 24,267.30 and 10,273.80, respectively.

For the week, the Hang Seng was up 0.6 percent.

Sentiment in Hong Kong was already soft as investors awaited the outcome of U.S. President Donald Trump’s talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, expected to cover North Korea and China’s big trade surplus with the United States.

Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities Ltd, said the missile attack on Syria was the main reason for Friday’s sluggishness in Hong Kong.

“But there’s no need to panic, what will come out of Trump and Xi’s meeting is more important.”

Yip said sentiment would get a boost if Trump softens his tough stance on China, which he has repeatedly blamed for stealing American jobs and dumping exports by cheapening its yuan currency.

Oil firms advanced on higher oil prices. An index tracking energy majors gained 1.6 percent at the close.

Reporting by Jackie Cai and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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