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Hong Kong: Hang Seng falls as China-US trade talks resume; Tencent gains

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[SHANGHAI] Hong Kong's benchmark stock index fell on Thursday, despite a jump in index heavyweight Tencent Holdings, as US and China resumed trade talks in Washington.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.5 per cent, to 30,942.15, while the China Enterprises Index lost 1.3 per cent, to 12,278.43 points.

Investors turned cautious as the United States and China resumed trade talks on Thursday in a bid to avert a damaging tariff war, with the White House's harshest China critic relegated to a supporting role, senior Trump administration officials said on Wednesday.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng, tracking energy shares, dipped 0.9 per cent while the IT sector rose 2.95 per cent, the financial sector was 1.26 per cent lower and property sector dipped 0.97 per cent .

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The top gainer on Hang Seng was Tencent Holdings Ltd, up 3.74 per cent, while the biggest loser was WH Group Ltd, down 2.15 per cent. Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.32 per cent while Japan's Nikkei index closed up 0.53 per cent.

The yuan was quoted at 6.368 per US dollar at 08:39 GMT, 0.04 per cent firmer than the previous close of 6.3705. As of the previous trading session, the Hang Seng index was up 3.98 per cent this year, while China's H-share index was up 6.2 per cent.

As of the previous close, the Hang Seng has risen 0.98 per cent this month. The top gainers among H-shares included CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, up 2.41 per cent, and Hengan International Group Company Ltd, up 1.52 per cent. The three biggest H-shares per centage decliners were Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, down 3.42 per cent, Air China Ltd, down 2.9 per cent and Huatai Securities Co Ltd, down 2.4 per cent. About 1.55 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 92.7 per cent of the market's 30-day moving average of 1.67 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous session was 1.39 billion.

At close, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 20.73 per cent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. The price-to-earnings ratio of the Hang Seng index was 12.45 as of the last full trading day while the dividend yield was 3.1 per cent.

REUTERS