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Hong Kong: Stocks, China H-shares end higher but trade woes cap gains

[HONG KONG] Hong Kong shares rose on Friday, catching up to global market gains in the previous session, but the threat of fresh US tariffs against China capped gains and prompted investors to switch to sectors seen as less exposed to the worsening trade dispute.

The benchmark blue chip Hang Seng index ended up 1.1 per cent, or 326.25 points, at 29,844.94, with the China's H-shares index closing up 0.9 per cent at 11,967.66.

The indexes had climbed over 1.2 per cent in early dealings as traders returned from a holiday and caught up to Thursday's global gains, but they quickly turned tail amid a fresh escalation in the US-China trade dispute.

China warned it would fight back "at any cost" with fresh measures to safeguard its interests if the United States sticks to its protectionist actions, after President Donald Trump threatened an extra US$100 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports.

Market voices on:

"Instead of reacting to the ongoing dispute every minute, investors were reshuffling their portfolios to sectors that were less sensitive or even immune from the dispute," said Alex Wong, a director at Ample Finance Group.

However, investors are still cautiously optimistic that Washington and Beijing will eventually be able to compromise, Mr Wong added.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.8 per cent while the IT sector rose 1.58 per cent, the financial sector was 1.04 per cent higher and property sector rose 1.21 per cent.

The top gainer on Hang Seng was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd, up 3.6 per cent, while the biggest loser was WH Group Ltd, which fell 3.4 per cent.