February 14, 2019 / 8:37 AM / 10 months ago

Hong Kong stocks end weaker ahead of trade talk outcome

* HSI -0.2 pct, HSCE -0.3 pct

* High level Sino-U.S. trade talks finish Friday

* Trump said to be touting 60-day truce extension

HONG KONG, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares closed lower on Thursday as investors kept a cautious stance hoping for a breakthrough in the trade impasse between United States and China. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 0.2 percent at 28,432.05 points, while Hang Seng China Enterprises index closed 0.3 percent lower. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares ended up 0.2 percent, while the IT sector closed 0.8 percent lower, the financial sector ended flat and the property sector ended 0.1 percent firmer. ** Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have kicked off high-level trade talks on Thursday, which will wrap up a day later. Discussions among lower-ranking officials started on Monday. ** U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if the two sides do not reach a deal by March 1. ** U.S. President Donald Trump suggested this week that the deadline could be delayed. A Bloomberg report on Thursday said Trump is touting a 60-day extension to the truce. ** A deal between China and the United States “will ultimately take … President Trump and President Xi sitting down face-to-face,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday. ** China’s exports unexpectedly returned to growth in January after a shock decline the previous month, while imports fell much less than expected. However, seasonal factors played a big role and there could be renewed trade weakness ahead, said analysts. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.1 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index ended pretty much flat. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd, which closed up 2.3 percent, while the biggest loser was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd , which ended 5 percent lower, after issuing a profit warning. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were GF Securities Co Ltd, which ended down 2.8 percent, China Gas Holdings Ltd, which closed 2.3 percent lower and China Life Insurance Co Ltd, which ended down 2.2 percent. ** About 1.48 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.99 billion shares. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 17.38 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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