January 28, 2019 / 9:11 AM / 6 months ago

HK stocks flat on weak China profit data; trade talks eyed

* HSI nearly unchanged, HSCE adds 0.1 pct

* China’s industrial profit down 2nd straight month

* New regulator, nearing trade talks lift the mood

HONG KONG, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares were little changed on Monday as China reported weak industrial profit, but the forthcoming trade talks between Beijing and Washington and a leadership change at China’s stock market regulator gave some hopes. ** The Hang Seng index ended nearly flat at 27,576.96, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index inched up 0.1 percent. ** Earnings at China’s industrial firms shrank for a second straight month in December, data showed on Monday, putting pressure on policymakers to support industries hurt by slowing prices and weak factory activity amid a protracted trade war with the United States. ** Over the weekend, China appointed banking veteran Yi Huiman to head the China Securities Regulatory Commission. ** All eyes are now set on Chinese Vice Premier Liu He’s visit to the United States on Jan. 30-31 for the next round of trade negotiations with Washington. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 0.1 percent, while the IT sector dipped 0.7 percent; the financial sector ended 0.3 percent higher and the property sector rose 0.1 percent. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Hengan International Group Company Ltd, which rose 1.9 percent, while the biggest loser was CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which fell 4.1 percent. ** The interest rate-sensitive Hong Kong market will also pay attention to the first Federal Open Market Committee meeting of 2019 at the U.S. Federal Reserve, taking place on Jan. 29-30 . ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was down 0.02 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.6 percent. ** The top gainers among H-shares were ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co Ltd up 2.7 percent, followed by New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, gaining 2.5 percent and Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd, up by 2.1 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Tower Corp Ltd, which was down 4.6 percent, China Gas Holdings Ltd and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd , both down by 4.1 percent. ** About 1.76 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.34 billion. ** China’s A-shares traded at a premium of 16.80 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The short and one-factor leveraged Hang Seng index, which is designed to replicate the payoff of a short or leveraged portfolio and is linked to the movements of the Hang Seng Index, was lower by 0.02 percent on the day at 5,011.62. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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