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Hong Kong: shares post biggest loss in a month on S&P downgrade, N.Korea

[HONG KONG] Hong Kong stocks posted their worst decline in a month on Friday, erasing much of the week's gains, as investors trimmed positions following S&P's downgrade of China's sovereign credit rating and North Korea's nuclear threats.

The US Federal Reserve's plan to shrink its balance sheet and later raise interest rates has also dented sentiment.

The Hang Seng index dropped 0.8 per cent, to 27,880.53 points, posting its biggest one-day percentage drop since Aug 18. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.8 per cent, to 11,109.00.

But both gauges were still up for the week, gaining 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively.

Confidence is weakened by S&P's one-notch China downgrade to A+ from AA-. The downgrade prompted a similar action against Hong Kong's sovereign credit rating.

While Chinese firms do not have significant borrowings from overseas, the downgrade presents a psychological setback for investors.

Market participants are also concerned about heightened tensions over North Korea's military provocations.

North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said on Friday he believes the North could consider a nuclear test on an "unprecedented scale" in the Pacific Ocean, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

Investors dumped resource shares for the second day on fears a stronger dollar could hit commodity prices.

An index tracking the sector fell as much as 2.6 per cent before trimming some losses.


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