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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares extend losses on tech and telecom earnings

CK Hutchison and CK Asset climb after 2018 results

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares headed for a third day lower on Friday, weighed down by losses for technology and telecom heavyweights after they reported earnings despite a positive lead from Wall Street.

The Hang Seng Index was down 0.5% to 28,913.55 by noon. Internet services heavyweight Tencent Holdings declined 1.3% following a 32% plunge in fourth-quarter profit, even as revenue for the period increased 28% from a year ago. China Mobile fell 1.8%, extending Thursday's 4.8% drop, after reporting a 0.5% decline in 2018 revenue and a 3.1% increase in profit. The two stocks were responsible for about a third of the gauge's losses by points.

PetroChina declined 2.8% despite a more than doubling of its 2018 profit and a 16.8% increase in revenue. CNOOC, which also said profit for its full year more than doubled, edged 0.3% higher. Brent crude futures fell 0.9% on Thursday.

Hong Kong-based ports-to-telecom conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings added 1.7% following an 11.1% increase in 2018 net profit and a 9.3% rise in revenue. Group company CK Asset Holdings climbed 0.9% after reporting a 33.2% jump in full-year profit.

The Hang Seng Index has risen 1% in March, with investors digesting reports that have already been released for the 2018 corporate earnings season. The gauge set nine-month highs more than once this week amid hopes of a resolution to U.S.-China trade tensions and as investors rolled back expectations of more rate increases in the U.S. The city's benchmark equity index is up 12% this year.

"The market is still doing OK as short-term uncertainties are resolved after the Federal Reserve meeting and results from several blue chips. The overall trend remains upward," said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities. "The first quarter's strengthening momentum could sustain into the second quarter."

Yip expects the index to fluctuate between 28,700 and 29,500 through the end of March.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.8% by midday on Friday, while the yuan traded onshore lost 0.1% against the dollar to 6.7031.

Li & Fung surged 11% in Hong Kong after the supply chain manager said its net loss for 2018 narrowed to $11 million from $375 million a year ago.

Anhui Conch Cement edged 0.2% higher after reporting an 88.1% surge in 2018 net profit and a 70.5% jump in revenue.

Sporting goods maker Li Ning jumped 9.1% after reporting a 39% surge in 2018 profit and an 18% increase in revenue.

Maanshan Iron & Steel added 1.8% following a 44% jump in 2018 net profit.

Gas distributor ENN Energy Holdings fell 3.3% after reporting 2018 profit of 2.82 billion yuan ($421.3 million), which was little changed from a year ago.

-- Carrie Chen

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