China, Hong Kong stocks give up gains as Middle East tensions flare
** The Hang Seng index fell 0.2% to 28,495.11, after climbing as much as 1.2% to a six-month high, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.3% to 11,291.30. ** On the mainland, the CSI300 index dropped 0.4% to 4,135.46 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 3,076.01.
** Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force and top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed early on Friday in a U.S. air strike on their convoy at Baghdad airport, the Pentagon and Iran said. ** The tensions in the Middle East after the U.S. air strike was the main reason that knocked Hong Kong stocks off from a six-month high, Ample Finance Group analyst Alex Wong said.
** Investors flocked to gold for shelter, pushing the precious metal to a four-month high. ** Besides, market participants also tended to pocket gains after a recent rally, Wong added.
** The benchmark Hang Seng index had advanced 7% in the last month of 2019 amid signs of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks. ** In China, worries over corporate earnings surfaced as companies began to publish annual estimates for 2019 and 2020, denting sentiment further for markets in the country.
** The world's most valuable liquor maker Kweichow Moutai dropped 4% to a near four-month low, extending its sharp correction from Thursday, after the consumer giant forecast full-year profit below estimates. ** There could be other blue-chip companies whose earnings estimates might disappoint, China Fortune Securities' analyst Yan Kaiwen said.
** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index fell 0.09%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.9678 per U.S. dollar, 0.05% weaker than the previous close of 6.9643.
** By 0402 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 26.45% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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