May 8, 2019 / 8:58 AM / a year ago

HK shares end weaker on trade jitters, mixed China data

* HSI -1.2 pct, H-shares -1.5 pct; A-shares, Asia slide

* China April exports undershoot, adding to tariff risk

* Imports beat estimates, but sustainability questioned

HONG KONG, May 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks closed lower on Wednesday, tracking a decline in global markets, as China’s mixed bag of trade data and fears of an escalation in the Sino-U.S. tariff spat stoked an investor exodus from riskier assets. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 1.2 percent at 29,003.20 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index closed 1.5 percent weaker. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares closed 1.8 percent weaker, while the IT sector ended 0.4 percent firmer, the financial sector ended 1.7 percent lower and the property sector closed down 0.6 percent. ** China’s exports unexpectedly shrank in April, though imports surprised with their first increase in five months, painting a mixed picture of the economy. Investors had hoped the data would add to signs that the country’s economy is steadying. ** Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is due to visit Washington on Thursday and Friday for trade talks in a last-ditch bid to avert a sharp increase in tariffs on Chinese goods ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump. ** U.S. officials have accused China of reneging in the past week on substantial commitments made during months of negotiations aimed at ending their trade war, prompting Trump to issue a new deadline to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed down 1.1 percent. The blue-chip CSI300 index lost 1.4 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.8 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.5 percent. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Tencent Holdings Ltd , which ended 1.1 percent firmer after gaining regulatory approval and rolling out a new video game. The biggest loser on the index was Techtronic Industries Co Ltd , down 4.4 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were New China Life Insurance Co Ltd and China National Building Material Co Ltd, both closed 4.1 percent lower, followed by PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd, which ended 3.8 percent lower. ** About 2.25 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.06 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 22.78 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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