October 25, 2019 / 9:04 AM / 18 days ago

Hong Kong stocks edge lower ahead of trade talks, Fed decision

* Hang Seng down 0.5%, H-shares fall 0.6%

* China asks U.S. to scrap tariffs in Friday’s talks -sources

* Fed to make rate call, HSBC to report earnings next week

* U.S. Pence angers Beijing by backing Hong Kong protests

HONG KONG, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The Hong Kong stock market fell on Friday, as investors braced for uncertainty ahead of fresh U.S.-China trade talks, local protests and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate decision next week.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 0.5% at 26,667.39, down 0.2% from the previous week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.6%, down 0.7% week-on-week. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 0.5%, the IT sector lost 0.1%, the financial sector fell 0.9% and the property sector was 0.1% lower. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which gained 5.7%, while the biggest loser was Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd, which fell 3.9%. ** Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials will discuss plans on Friday for China to buy more U.S. farm products, but in return, Beijing will request the cancellation of some planned and existing U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, people briefed on the talks told Reuters. ** U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday accused China of curtailing “rights and liberties” in Hong Kong, angering the Chinese foreign ministry. ** Index heavyweight HSBC will report corporate earnings next week, which are set to show early signs of strain from anti-government protests in Hong Kong, the lender’s single-biggest profit centre. ** The U.S. Federal Reserve will hold its policy-setting meeting on October 29 and 30. Hong Kong’s currency is pegged to the greenback and its official interest rate moves lockstep with the U.S. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was flat, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.2%. ** About 1.15 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.50 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 29.92% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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