Hong Kong stocks end lower on modest turnover

2007-12-27 05:30:24 Xinhua English

HONG KONG, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong stocks opened higher in the morning but turned downward to end in negative ground, with a modest turnover suggesting that the overall sentiments were still cautious in the market.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened up 208.67 points, or 0.74 percent, at 28,337.47 but finished morning trading lower at 28,042. 63 and continued to widen its losses in the afternoon before closing at 27,842.93, down 285.87 points or 1.02 percent, ignoring gains in the mainland markets and regional markets.

The market's key barometer fluctuated between 28,343.39 and 27,842.93 during trading, with turnover totaling 76.6 billion HK dollars (9.82 billion U.S. dollars), suggesting that investors were still concerned about uncertainties.

The turnover was higher than the 51.87 billion HK dollars (6.65billion U.S. dollars) recorded in the shortened session on Monday ahead of the two-day Christmas break, but even lower than the modest 83.37 billion HK dollars (10.69 billion U.S. dollars) recorded last Friday.

Analysts attributed the fall to cautious market sentiments and unwillingness on investors' side to enter the market during the holiday season as year end nears.

In a separate development, no surprises were expected as certain economic figures were to be announced in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Analysts said they expected the Hang Seng index to move within a limited range in the short term, possibly between 27,500 and 28,400.

Most blue chip stocks were losers, with the heavy-weighted HSBC moving down one HK dollar, or 0.75 percent, to close at 131.6 HK dollars and its local unit Hang Seng Bank losing 0.8 HK dollars to close at 161.7 HK dollars.

The finance sub-index lost the most among the four categories, moving down 504.52 points, or 1.26 percent, to close at 39,681.99.

Bank of China lost 0.08 HK dollars at 3.85 HK dollars while BOC Hong Kong lost 0.7 HK dollars, or 3.22 percent, to close at 21.05 HK dollars.

ICBC, the mainland banking giant, lost 0.09 HK dollars at 5.68 HK dollars.

Cheung Kong, the Hong Kong-based property conglomerate with operations in many cities, some in the Chinese mainland, edged down 0.3 HK dollars at 141.5 HK dollars while SHK Properties added0.8 HK dollars at 163.6 HK dollars.

With the mainland-based property shares ending mixed, the properties sub-index suffered the slightest losses among the four major categories, losing 112.44 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 37,485.91.

The utilities genre went down 504.52 points, or 1.23 percent, at 40,703.65 while the commerce and industry sub-index dropped 160points, or 0.95 percent, at 16,628.60.

Telecommunications shares outperformed, thanks to news that the mainland authorities had approved the plan for the next generation of mobile telecommunications network, leading market to bet on license issuing soon.

China Netcom added 0.8 HK dollars, or 3.44 percent, to close at24.05 HK dollars, China Unicom moved up 0.62 HK dollars, or 3.57 percent, at 17.98 HK dollars and China Telecom up 0.37 HK dollars, or 6.26 percent, at 6.28 HK dollars.

The news was deemed to be unfavorable for the largest mobile carrier China Mobile, leading its share prices to drop 3.2 HK dollars at 138.6 HK dollars.

Xingye Copper, a newly-listed resources share, closed at 3.29 HK dollars, almost doubling its IPO offer price of 1.7 HK dollars. (7.8 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollar)