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Hong Kong: Shares close 0.17% lower

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[HONG KONG] Hong Kong shares closed 0.17 per cent lower on Monday, dragged down by expectations the US could soon raise interest rates, while Chinese shares got a boost from news that banks could start trading in securities.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 40.95 points to 24,123.05 on turnover of HK$76.46 billion (S$13.57 billion).

Asian shares took a hit from strong US jobs figures showing unemployment fell to its lowest point in nearly seven years, increasing the likelihood the central bank could lift rates from near-zero as early as the summer.

But Chinese shares bucked the trend to close higher following news the government is considering allowing banks to apply for licences to deal in securities, dealers said.

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The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index reversed earlier losses to end up 1.89 per cent, or 61.22 points, at 3,302.41 on turnover of 359.9 billion yuan (S$80.35 billion).

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, rose 1.23 per cent, or 20.30 points, to 1,672.07 on turnover of 286.2 billion yuan.

AFP

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