* Hang Seng falls 1.2% to lowest closing since Feb.15
* U.S. blacklists Huawei, Chinese media toughens rhetoric
* Yuan slides past key level, PBOC vigilance caps losses
HONG KONG, May 17 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks on Friday touched their lowest close in more than three months as Sino-U.S. tensions heightened after Washington hit Chinese telecoms giant Huawei with sanctions, further straining trade ties.
** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 1.2% at 27,946.46 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index closed 1.1% lower. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares ended down 1.1%, while the IT sector closed 2.2% weaker, the financial sector ended 0.9% lower and the property sector closed 1.5% down. ** Trade tensions worsened this week after the Trump administration officially added China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to a trade blacklist, immediately enacting restrictions that will make it extremely difficult for the telecoms giant to do business with U.S. companies. ** An index representing IT hardware makers shed 4.4% to its lowest level since January 29. ** Chinese media is toughening its rhetoric in the trade war with the United States, evoking patriotism and past wars to rally support at home. ** The yuan curbed some of its losses after Reuters reported the People’s Bank of China will not let the currency slip past the widely watched 7 per dollar handle. The offshore yuan hit its lowest since Nov. 30, 2018, earlier. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was China Mobile Ltd , which closed 1.8% higher, while the biggest loser was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd, which ended 10.4% lower. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index and the blue-chip CSI300 index both closed 2.5% lower, registering weekly losses for the fourth straight week. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.8%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 0.9% firmer. ** About 1.98 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.45 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.49% 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 higher by 1.1% on the day at 4,916.73 points.
Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips