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Hong Kong: Benchmark index falls to lowest close in two months


[HONG KONG] Hong Kong stocks closed at a two-month low on Tuesday, tracking sluggish global markets, as slumping oil prices dented already fragile investor confidence ahead of a likely US rate hike.

The market was also weighed down by weak China November trade data, which added to worries over the health of its economy.

The Hang Seng Index fell 1.3 per cent to 21,905.13, the lowest close since Oct 6. The China Enterprises Index lost 1.4 per cent, to 9,660.87 points. "A confluence of bad news has deepened market pessimism," said Alex Kwok, chief analyst and head of research at China Investment Securities (HK). "Many investors are standing on the sidelines, with little intention to go into the market." Shares fell across the board, with an index trading energy stocks slumping 2.8 per cent, as oil giants including CNOOC and PetroChina tanked after oil prices hit seven-year lows.

However, Chinese carriers listed in Hong Kong, including Air China Ltd, China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd were in positive territory, as investors bet lower oil prices would cut their costs.