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Hong Kong shares tumble on Brexit vote, then pare losses

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[HONG KONG] Hong Kong stocks tumbled on Friday, joining the global market rout after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

But the mid-session panic-selling triggered by the Brexit vote also attracted bargain hunting, which in the afternoon helped the market recover much of its losses in heavy trading.

At the close, the benchmark Hang Seng index was down 2.9 per cent, to 20,259.13, while the China Enterprises Index also had lost 2.9 per cent, to 8,530.10 points.

At one point, both indexes had fallen more 5 per cent.

For the week, the HSI rose 0.4 per cent, while HSCE was up 0.5 per cent.

Alex Wong, Hong Kong-based director at Ample Finance Group, said the market overreacted initially, but them gained some compusure.

"After over-reaction, investors realized that Brexit won't have an immediate huge impact... and won't suddenly cause a financial crisis," he said, adding that next investors need to watch reactions in the United States.

Shares fell across the board in Hong Kong, led by financial and energy stocks.

British lender HSBC Holdings, at one point down 12.4 per cent, ended the day off 6.6 per cent, at its lowest close since June 16. An index tracking Hong Kong-listed financial stocks dropped 3.6 per cent.