[HONG KONG] Hong Kong shares fell on Thursday, dragged down by weakness in regional markets, especially losses on the mainland, and as investors braced for an imminent rise in US interest rates.
Chinese shares fell for a third day after the official Xinhua news agency said the country's stock regulator would investigate the margin business of 46 companies, amid concerns share markets are becoming over-leveraged and vulnerable to a crash.
"Investor sentiment was hurt by the falls on mainland markets, and losses in the US led the Hang Seng to fall further," said Sam Chi Yung, strategist at Delta Asia Financial Group in Hong Kong.
"The Fed probably will not postpone its interest rate hike, which made (Hong Kong) investors nervous," he said.
The Hang Seng index fell 1.1 per cent, to 24,595.85 points, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.9 per cent, to 11,736.09 points.
Among the most actively traded stocks on Hong Kong's main board were Artini China Co Ltd, up 9.2 per cent at HK$0.14, China Construction Bank, down 1.6 per cent at HK$6.25 and Bank Of China, down 2.3 per cent at HK$4.35.
Chinese investment flowing from Shanghai into Hong Kong through the mutual market access pilot programme took up 0.58 billion yuan (US$92.86 million) of the 10.5 billion yuan daily quota.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 1.9 billion shares.