June 17, 2020 / 8:52 AM / in 20 days

Hong Kong shares edge higher amid caution over fresh virus cases in China, U.S.

* Hang Seng index up 0.56%; HSCE index rises 0.43%

* Pharmaceutical firms among the top gainers

* Beijing imposes travel curbs to contain virus surge

BEIJING, June 17 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended slightly higher on Wednesday, as investors remained cautious that a resurgence in new coronavirus cases in China and the United States could slow down global economic recovery.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 137.32 points, or 0.56%, at 24,481.41. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.43% to 9,909.63.

** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 0.4%, while the IT sector rose 0.64%, the financial sector ended 0.52% higher and the property sector rose 1.12%.

** Pharmaceutical firms were among the top gainers, with SINOPHARM GROUP CO LTD and Biopharmaceutical Ltd rising 9.21% and 4.68%, respectively.

** Beijing reported 31 new confirmed infections for June 16, bringing the cumulative infections since Thursday to 137 cases, the worst resurgence of the disease in the city since early February. ** Scores of flights to and from Beijing were cancelled, schools shut and some neighbourhoods blocked off as officials ramped up efforts to contain a coronavirus outbreak that has fanned fears of wider contagion. ** New infections also hit record highs in six U.S. states as businesses reopened.

** The impact of a second wave of outbreak on economic recovery will be controllable as the officials have learned from the lessons in the past five months, Morgan Stanley economist Robin Xing told reporters on a video call.

** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.14% at 2,935.87 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.08%.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.5%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.56%.

** The yuan was quoted at 7.0841 per U.S. dollar at 0817 GMT, 0.02% firmer than the previous close of 7.0855. (Reporting by Zhang Yan in Beijing, and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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