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Equities

Hong Kong stocks fall for fourth day on geopolitical concerns

Apple suppliers slump; Chow Tai Fook jumps in weak market after sales data

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares closed lower for a fourth consecutive day on Tuesday, recording their longest losing streak in more than two months as investors' caution over geopolitical issues lingered.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.8% to end at 30,062.75. While better-than-expected Chinese economic data pushed the gauge to an intraday high of 30,477.79 in morning trading, those gains evaporated as the day progressed. Official data released earlier in the day showed China's gross domestic product expanded 6.8% in the January-March quarter, faster than the 6.7% growth projected in a Reuters poll.

Markets have been following geopolitical developments after the U.S.-led missile strike in Syria over the weekend, although some have described it as a one-off event.

"There is a lot of negative news from the outside," said Mark To, managing director of asset management and head of research at Wing Fung Financial Group. In the short term, investors are relatively sensitive to trade war and geopolitics-related news, he said, adding that the Hang Seng Index was expected to trade between the 30,000 and 32,000 levels.

Heavyweight stock Tencent Holdings lost 1.4%, while Apple suppliers Sunny Optical Technology Group and AAC Technologies Holdings sank 5.8% and 4.6%, respectively.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.4%. The yuan traded onshore was little changed at 6.2778 to the U.S. dollar.

Leshi Internet Information & Technology jumped 9.9% in mainland trading. China Evergrande Group's Hong Kong-based fund has invested about $300 million in a Faraday Future offshore unit in 2017, according to a Reuters report, citing Tencent's news portal. Leshi's top shareholder, Jia Yueting, the founder of the company's Chinese parent LeEco, has an investment in Faraday Future. China Evergrande shares fell 3.7% in Hong Kong.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group jumped 7.1% to its highest level since September 2014 after same-store sales grew 17% in the three months ended March, which Citigroup said was "well above" expectations.

Financial-services provider Far East Horizon was among the most actively traded stocks in Hong Kong on Tuesday. It fell 6.4% to HK$7.84 after CMI Financial Holding, a major shareholder in the company, sold 230 million shares at HK$7.90 apiece, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Shares in China's state-owned ZTE were halted in Hong Kong on Tuesday after the U.S. imposed a ban on the sale of components to the Chinese telecommunications-equipment maker by American companies. The U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday imposed a denial of export privileges against ZTE, after determining that the company made false statements on multiple occasions following its earlier shipments of telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea. ZTE shares were at HK$25.60 in Hong Kong on Monday.

China Eastern Airlines closed 0.9% lower in the weak market despite reporting a 10.6% increase in the number of passengers it carried in March. Air China dropped 1%. On Monday, the airline posted an 11.4% increase in passengers carried last month.

U.S.-listed Chinese e-commerce major JD.com on Tuesday said it agreed to acquire a 33.3% stake in Allianz China General Insurance for 536.6 million yuan ($85.4 million), making it the company's second-largest shareholder. JD.com shares edged 0.3% higher in New York on Monday.

-- Amy Lam

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