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Hong Kong: Stocks end the day lower

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[HONG KONG] Hong Kong stocks suffered their biggest one-day drop in more than three weeks on Friday as traders were rattled by a report that billionaire investor George Soros, a noted China sceptic, was making big, bearish bets again.

The Hang Seng index lost 1.2 percent to end the day at 21,042.64 points, its biggest daily percentage decline since May 18. Still, the benchmark index ended the week up half a per cent, its fourth consecutive week of gains.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Soros Fund Management has expressed concern about the global economic outlook, China capital flight, reserve depletion, and internal politics, though it gave few details of its market bets.

Mr Soros was believed to be behind an abortive attack on Hong Kong stocks and the city's currency peg to the US dollar during the Asian financial crisis in 1997/98. This January, he spooked markets again by saying a hard landing for China's economy was practically unavoidable.

Caution ahead of more Chinese economic data on Monday and the closure of mainland China markets for a long holiday also prompted Hong Kong investors to take profits from recent gains.

Stocks in China and Hong Kong have been supported in recent weeks by growing expectations that US market index provider MSCI could add mainland stocks to its emerging market benchmark for the first time. It is due to announce its decision on Tuesday.

China Resources Power fell 4.6 percent, Kunlun Energy lost 4.1 percent and China Resources Land slid 3.3 percent.