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Hong Kong: Shares flat, China gains as Beijing cracks down on speculators


[HONG KONG] Hong Kong stocks were steady on Tuesday as anxiety ahead of earning reports tempered by a rally in China's main indexes as Beijing ramped up its efforts to stabilise mainland markets.

The Hang Seng index ended almost flat, down 0.02 per cent at 24,406.12 points, its lowest close since July 27. The China Enterprises Index gained 0.6 percent to 11,074.92 points.

China stocks rose sharply on the day after mainland authorities announced new steps to curb short-selling with both the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges unveiling measures to make it more difficult for speculators to profit from hourly gyrations in stock prices.

Citic Securities and Huatai Securities said they would temporarily halt their short-selling services. It was followed by Great Wall Securities.

Analysts said investors focus in Hong Kong turned to earning reports from blue chips, with Standard Chartered expected to release its interim earnings on Wednesday, and Kulun Energy on Thursday.

China Mengniu Dairy was the biggest loser in the blue chips index, falling 4.2 per cent.

Air China Ltd led gains in the Chinese enterprise index, with its Hong Kong shares surging 9.3 per cent in the biggest daily gain since March 30, after the controlling shareholder raised its stake in the carrier.

Tencent, which fell 0.7 per cent, was the day's most actively traded stock. The central bank is cracking down on the country's online payments market, which is dominated by web giants Alibaba and Tencent.