March 3, 2016 / 8:14 AM / a month ago

Hong Kong stocks post weekly drop as protests rattle sentiment

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 16.9%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 1.5%

* HSI -0.1%, HSCE -0.1%, CSI300 +0.3%

* FTSE China A50 +0.3%

Sept 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks closed the week lower amid lingering worries that anti-government protests could add pressure on the city island’s economy amid a bruising Sino-U.S. trade spat.

** The Hang Seng index ended down 0.1% at 26,435.67 on Friday, while the China Enterprises Index also lost 0.1% to 10,375.65.

** HSI shed 3.4% for the week, while HSCE lost 2.9%.

** Hong Kong’s central bank lowered interest rates on Thursday in step with a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, just as months of anti-government protests and fallout from U.S.-China trade tensions start to take a toll on the economy.

** The rate cut comes after more than 100 days of anti-government protests in the city, with violence escalating over the summer.

** Last weekend, police fired water cannon and volleys of tear gas to disperse protesters, many of them masked and wearing black, who threw petrol bombs and set fires in Causeway Bay and the nearby Central district. In a direct challenge to Beijing, some protesters threw bricks at police outside the Chinese People’s Liberation Army base and set fire to a red banner proclaiming the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

** Beijing on Friday cut its new one-year benchmark lending rate for the second month in a row, a step by the central bank to wrestle down borrowing costs and support the economy as the Sino-U.S. trade war drags.

** However, cautious easing seemed to offer little support for mainland companies listed in Hong Kong on Friday.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.57%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.16%.

** The yuan was quoted at 7.09 per U.S. dollar at 0814 GMT, 0.1% firmer than the previous close of 7.097.

** The top gainers among H-shares were China Communications Construction Co Ltd, which ended up 6.35%, followed by China Railway Group Ltd, gaining 3.97% and CRRC Corp Ltd, up by 3.01%.

** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, which ended down 2.96%, Guangdong Investment Ltd, which closed 2.11% lower and China Pacific Insurance Group Co Ltd, down by 1.91%.

** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 29.93% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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