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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares slump in August on protests, trade concerns

AAC Technologies and WH Group lead August's losses after earnings

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares closed down on Friday, marking their second consecutive monthly decline, weighed down by the impact of ongoing political unrest in the city and lingering uncertainty in the Sino-American trade war.

Earnings for the January-to-June period also contributed, helping send the index down 7.4% in August. The 50-stock gauge ended little changed at 25,724.73 on Friday.

Apple supplier AAC Technologies Holdings dropped 20.7% in August, leading percentage losses on the gauge. The trade-sensitive company reported a 57% slump in first-half net profit.

Pork producer WH Group shed 18.2% this month. The Chinese company, which has significant business interests in the U.S., reported a 16.9% decline in January-to-June net profit.

On Friday, AAC added 0.4%, while WH Group declined 1.1%.

Widespread protests that started peacefully in June continued this month in Hong Kong, turning violent frequently as the police clashed with activists. On Friday, Joshua Wong, an activist who became the face of pro-democracy protests in 2014, was arrested, according to his political party, Demosisto.

The Hang Seng Index had risen as much as 1.2% earlier on Friday amid hopes that Sino-American trade negotiations will continue. On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump said some trade talks were taking place and more were scheduled. China's Ministry of Commerce said the two sides were discussing having a round of meetings in September.

Investor worries over the trade war have eased on indications that China is willing to engage in talks in a "calm manner," said Tracy Chan, an analyst at KGI Asia.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.2% lower. Investors await the release of China's official data on manufacturing activity over the weekend.

Offshore energy producer CNOOC jumped 5.4% in Hong Kong after reporting an 18.7% increase in first-half net profit. Revenue for the period rose 3.1% from a year ago. PetroChina climbed 3.7% following a 3.6% increase in net profit and a 6.8% rise in operating income for the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China rose 1.2% after reporting a 4.7% increase in first-half net profit.

China Merchants Port Holdings rose 1.3% after reporting a 19.8% increase in first-half net profit.

Railway transportation equipment maker CRRC added 1.9% following a 16.2% increase in net profit for the first six months of 2019. Operating income for the period rose 11.4% from a year ago.

Beigene rose 2.6% after the drugmaker said its net loss for the January-to-June period narrowed to $253.21 million from $261.48 million a year ago. Total revenue jumped fourfold to $321.18 million.

Ascletis Pharma slid 9.8% after swinging to a loss of 47.2 million yuan ($6.60 million) in the January-to-June period. Revenue fell 34.5% from a year ago. Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding rose 1.4% after reporting a 10.7% increase in profit and a 22% rise in operating revenue for the six months ended in June.

Property developer Sino Land slipped 1.8% after saying its net profit for the full year ended in June halved to 6.91 billion Hong Kong dollars ($880.9 million) from HK$14 billion a year ago. Revenue for the year declined 25.4% to HK$8.01 billion.

Haier Electronics Group jumped 9.1% after reporting an 8.4% increase in first-half net profit even as revenue for the period declined 2.7% year over year.

Liquid crystal display product maker Truly International Holdings climbed 5.2% after forecasting a more than 24-fold increase in net profit for the first half of 2019.

Mining company Jiangxi Copper added 1% following a 6.4% increase in first-half net profit.

--Benny Kung

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