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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares fall in shortened trading week

Investors' concerns over global trade tensions and tech sell-off weigh on market

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares rose on Thursday, but the stock market ended lower for the shortened trading week, as ongoing uncertainties over global trade relations and a sell-off in technology stocks kept investors cautious.

The Hang Seng Index added 0.2% to close at 30,093.38, but lost 0.7% for the four-day trading week. Hong Kong markets will be closed on Friday and Monday for the Good Friday and Easter Monday holidays. The index is down 2.4% for March, as worries over a potential trade war between the U.S. and China clouded investor sentiment after President Donald Trump recently announced plans to impose import taxes on steel and aluminum and on $60 billion worth of Chinese goods.

China Mengniu Dairy climbed 7% on Thursday, ending 13.3% higher for the week as the company swung to a profit for 2017. Apple suppliers Sunny Optical Technology Group shed 1.7% following an 8% plunge on Wednesday, and Tencent Holdings, which slid 4.6% on Wednesday amid a global technology stock sell-off, fell 0.6%. The two stocks are down 4.5% and 2.5%, respectively, for the week.

Early losses on Thursday came after the technology heavy Nasdaq Composite led weakness on Wall Street for a second day on Wednesday. U.S. technology companies have come under pressure amid concerns over possible greater regulatory scrutiny for the sector after a data privacy incident at Facebook. Amazon.com shares tumbled 6.7% overnight after news website Axios reported that Trump may be seeking to rein in the online retailer's growing power.

With Hong Kong's markets entering a holiday on Friday, "there is not much good news supporting the market; this could limit the room for rebound for the Hang Seng Index," said Mark To, head of research at Wing Fung Financial Group. "Even though the HSI tested the 30,000 support level again, I believe it is likely to be range-bound between about 30,000 points to 32,000 points in the short term."

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.2%, while its Shenzhen counterpart rose 1%.

Offshore oil producer CNOOC fell 0.5% Thursday ahead of its annual results. After the end of the day's trading, the company said its 2017 net profit surged to 24.68 billion yuan ($3.92 billion) from 637 million yuan a year earlier, as higher oil prices boosted sales. Revenue rose 27.2%.

Leshi Internet Information & Technology slid 6.6% in Shenzhen after mainland developer Sunac China Holdings said it will book a 16.6 billion yuan charge on its investment in the technology group.

"This is indeed a failed investment, otherwise it would not trigger so much loss," Sunac Chairman Sun Hongbin said at a press conference in Hong Kong. In 2017, Sunac had invested 15.04 billion yuan in Leshi, the listed unit of technology conglomerate LeEco, and its affiliated companies.

Sunac China shares rose 1.3% in Hong Kong after the company on Thursday reported a more than quadrupling of its 2017 profit to 11 billion yuan and an 86% surge in revenue.

Chinese train builder CRRC fell 1.9% after saying profit for last year fell 4.4% to 10.8 billion yuan and revenue decreased 7.6%.

Weichai Power jumped 7.7% after the transportation equipment maker said profit for 2017 nearly tripled to 6.81 billion yuan, while revenue rose 62.7% to 151.57 billion yuan.

-- Amy Lam and Benny Kung

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