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Hong Kong stocks close lower amid lack of directions
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Hong Kong stocks closed 1.04 percent lower at 20,242.75 on Thursday amid a lack of clues to the future directions.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened down 0.82 percent and moved within the narrow range between 20,147.34 and 20,364.40 during the day's trading. Turnover remained modest at 58.86 billion HK dollars (7.6 billion U.S. dollars).

The HSI index futures were trading at a modest premium of 42 points.

Analysts agreed on the lack of clear clues as to the future directions, with some saying that there could be a breakthrough after the recent quietness, given that the Wall Street has been accumulating gains over the past weeks.

Market heavyweight HSBC 1.24 percent to close at 83.65 HK dollars, and its local unit Hang Seng Bank ended down 1.24 percent at 111.3 HK dollars.

China Mobile, by far the largest mobile carrier, finished the day's trading down 0.55 HK dollars, or 0.7 percent, at 78.25 HK dollars. Smaller rival China Unicom finished flat at 10.68 HK dollars.

Cheung Kong, the business conglomerate headed by Hong Kong's richest Li Ka-shing, closed down 1.47 percent at 97.55 HK dollars, and Sun Hung Kai Properties, the leading residential housing developer in Hong Kong, was down 0.27 percent at 111.5 HK dollars.

Three of the four Chinese mainland-based blue chip banking shares such as Bank of China, the Bank of Communications and the China Construction Bank, closed flat. ICBC, the largest commercial lender, edged down 0.19 percent to close at 5.29 HK dollars.

Bank of China and its local unit BOC Hong Kong were expected to announce interim results after the market closes on Thursday. Both reported slightly better than expected results, but BOC Hong Kong tumbled 3.82 percent ahead of the announcement.

The finance sub-index was down 0.8 percent, the properties lost 1.35 percent, and the commerce and industry lost 1.55 percent. The utilities, the usual safe haven, gained 0.89 percent, making it the only gainer among the four major stock categories.

The oil shares were also losers, with full-business operator PetroChina down 0.23 percent, refining-concentrated Sinopec down 0. 14 percent, and offshore oil producer CNOOC tumbling 3 percent on falling oil prices.

HKEx, the sole exchange operator, lost 1.67 percent, at 141.1 HK dollars.

(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2009)

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