December 19, 2018 / 8:44 AM / a month ago

HK shares end firmer ahead of Fed call; oil slide curbs gains

* Hang Seng index ends up 0.2 pct

* China Enterprises index HSCE falls 0.3 percent

* HSI energy sector sub-index down 2.5 pct; property sector up 1 pct

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Shares in Hong Kong closed cautiously higher on Wednesday amid market expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will signal a slower place of monetary tightening later in the day, but energy firms were pulled down by a slump in crude prices.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was 0.2 percent higher at 25,865.39 points, while the China Enterprises Index closed 0.3 percent lower at 10,195.59 points. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dropped 2.5 percent after Brent crude lost almost 6 percent overnight amid a supply glut. The IT sector closed down 0.28 percent, the financial sector ended 0.48 percent higher and the property sector closed 0.99 percent firmer. ** U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned the Federal Reserve not to “make yet another mistake” in tightening monetary policy, while a Wall Street Journal editorial called for a pause.

** The futures market sees a two-in-three chance of a rate increase on Wednesday. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was CK Asset Holdings Ltd , which closed up 2.34 percent, while the biggest loser was China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, which ended down 4.69 percent. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed down 1.1 percent at 2,549.56 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended down 1.2 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.58 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.6 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.8961 per U.S. dollar at 0823 GMT, weaker than the previous close of 6.8959. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Huaneng Power International Inc, which ended up 3.33 percent, followed by China Telecom Corp Ltd, which closed 2.32 percent higher and CRRC Corp Ltd, which ended up 2.09 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, which closed down 4.69 percent, China Merchants Bank Co Ltd, which ended 3.4 percent lower and PetroChina Co Ltd, which ended 2.9 percent down. ** About 1.47 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 92.6 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 1.59 billion shares a day. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.49 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 18.16 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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