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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares dragged down by financial and telecom companies

Geely Automobile slides after filings show executives cut stakes

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares fell on Wednesday, weighed down by losses for financial and telecom companies, as investors weighed some earnings reports and awaited fresh developments on trade talks.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.5% to 29,805.83 after rising as much as 0.5% at its opening. Geely Automobile Holdings declined 5.4%, leading percentage losses on the gauge. Stock exchange filings showed Yang Jian and Daniel Li, both executive vice chairmen, and executive director Wei Mei trimmed their shareholdings in the company last week.

Ping An Insurance Group and China Construction Bank, both heavyweights on the 50-stock gauge, fell 1.1% and 0.7%, respectively.

China Mobile, the nation's largest mobile network provider, declined 1.1% following an 8.3% decrease in March quarter net profit and a 0.3% slippage in revenue. Smaller rival China Unicom (Hong Kong) reversed direction to dip 0.8% after rising as much as 2.3% earlier. The company had reported a 22% increase in first-quarter net profit late on Tuesday.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of large mainland companies listed in the city fell 0.6%. In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index ended 0.1% higher after falling as much as 1.3% earlier. The Shanghai gauge is down more than 2% so far this week. It had gained 2.6% last week, when Beijing reported better-than-expected first-quarter growth numbers. The yuan traded onshore rose 0.1% against the U.S. dollar to 6.7195.

"There are fewer hopes of further monetary easing from China" after recent economic data, said Andy Wong, chief investment strategist at LW Asset Management. "It is hard to pick a theme for buying at the moment."

The Hang Seng Index needs "new catalysts" around the 30,000-point level, he added.

Early gains for the Hang Seng Index had come after the S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite closed at record highs on Tuesday, helped by better-than-expected March quarter earnings.

Meanwhile, markets continue to watch for developments on Sino-American trade discussions that have yet to lead to a resolution of their dispute. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing next Tuesday to meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for another round of trade talks. Liu He will lead a delegation to Washington the week after that.

Hotel and gaming business operator Summit Ascent Holdings added 2.7% in Hong Kong after a unit of resort management company Suncity Group Holdings agreed to buy a 24.7% stake in the company for HK$717.8 million ($91.5 million) from two sellers. Suncity rose 2.1%.

TCL Electronics Holdings, a unit of conglomerate TCL, advanced 4.8%. The company on Tuesday reported a 15.8% increase in January-March quarter turnover.

-- Amy Lam

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