May 21, 2019 / 8:39 AM / 4 months ago

Hong Kong shares end lower as trade uncertainty rattles sentiment

* Hang Seng index ends down 0.47% China Enterprises index HSCE inches higher

* HSI financial sector sub-index ends flat; property sector down 1%

May 21 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index on Tuesday ended at its lowest close in nearly 16 weeks as investors worried about the risk of escalating trade tensions between Washington and Beijing despite a temporary easing of restrictions China’s Huawei.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 130.37 points, or 0.47%, at 27,657.24, its lowest close since Jan. 30. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index eked out a 0.01% gain to end at 10,634.62. ** Washington on Monday temporarily eased trade restrictions imposed last week on China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in an attempt to minimise disruption for its customers. But Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, dismissed the move and said the tech firm had prepared for U.S. action. ** The easing of restrictions and Ren’s comments boosted some Huawei suppliers in mainland markets, but failed to overcome investor concerns in Hong Kong. A sub-index tracking IT firms ended down 0.2%. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 0.9%, the financial sector ended 0.34% lower and the property sector dipped 1.02%. ** A visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to a rare-earths producer in Southern China sparked a massive surge in the price of another rare-earths firm, Hong Kong-listed China Rare Earth Holdings Ltd, amid speculation that the materials might be used as countermeasures in the Sino-U.S. trade spat. China Rare Earth surged over two-fold to its highest close since August 2015. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was WH Group Ltd, which gained 1.68%, while the biggest loser was Wharf Real Estate Investment Company Ltd, which ended 2.41% weaker. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 1.23% at 2,905.97 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended 1.35% higher. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.14%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.14%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.9155 per U.S. dollar at 0824 GMT, 0.03% weaker than the previous close of 6.9133. ** The top gainers among H-shares were China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd, which closed up 2.21%, followed by China Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd, which ended 1.6% higher and China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd, which ended 1.6% firmer. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were CNOOC Ltd, which closed down 2.05%, China Railway Group Ltd , which ended 2% weaker and Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, which ended down 1.6%. ** About 2.30 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 129.8% of the market’s 30-day moving average of 1.77 billion shares a day. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.33 billion. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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