May 29, 2019 / 8:36 AM / a month ago

Hong Kong shares fall as growth, trade war worries weigh

* Hang Seng index ends down 0.57%, HSCE slips 0.25%

* HSI financial sector sub-index 0.5% lower; property sector falls 0.6%

* Dual-listed insurance firms post strong gains

* Rare earth producer soars as trade war rhetoric ratchets up

May 29 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares fell on Wednesday, tracking losses around the region as investor sentiment soured over mounting worries about world growth, with trade tensions between the United States and China showing no signs of easing. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 155.10 points, or 0.57%, at 27,235.71. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.25% to 10,390.45. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 0.6%, while the IT sector dipped 0.9%, the financial sector ended 0.53% lower and the property sector dipped 0.63%. ** Shares of China Rare Earth Holdings Ltd jumped 23.53% after reports that Beijing is mulling restricting exports of the materials to the United States. ** Major Chinese newspapers warned the United States on Wednesday that China is ready to use rare earths to strike back in their bitter trade war, with the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper saying in an extremely strongly worded commentary, “don’t say we didn’t warn you”. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Hong Kong and China Gas Co Ltd, which gained 1.15%, while the biggest loser was Sands China Ltd, which fell 2.84%. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.16% at 2,914.70 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended down 0.23%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.71%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.21%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.91 per U.S. dollar at 08:22 GMT, 0.03% weaker than the previous close of 6.908. ** The top gainers among H-shares were PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd up 4.97%, followed by New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, gaining 3.78% and China Pacific Insurance Group Co Ltd, up by 3.2%. ** The rise in insurance firms’ H-shares was matched by gains in their A-shares, prompted by what analysts say are attractively low valuations. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were CGN Power Co Ltd, which was down 1.87%, Haitong Securities Co Ltd, which fell 1.8% and GF Securities Co Ltd , down by 1.7%. ** About 2.31 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 129.5% of the market’s 30-day moving average of 1.78 billion shares a day. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 3.14 billion. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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