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HK shares end sharply lower
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Hong Kong stocks end sharply lower on Tuesday on rising concerns over corporate earnings and global growth after the Wall Street's overnight decline and plunges in Asian markets.

With all 42 members of the benchmark index ending in the red, the Hang Seng Index fell 613.64 points, or 4.54 percent, to close at 12,915.89, after falling as much as 852.72 points, or 6.3 percent, in the afternoon session.

The index traded between 12,676.28 and 13,363.57. Turnover moved up to 44.84 billion HK dollars (US$5.79 billion) from Monday's 39.81 billion HK dollars (US$5.15 billion).

Analysts said they expect the index to continue heading lower in the near term on concerns over the Chinese mainland's economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.6 percent to 8273.58 overnight as Citigroup's plan to cut more than 50,000 jobs deepened economic concerns.

Falls on Asia's bourses also weighed on Hong Kong shares. Japan 's Nikkei 225 ended 2.3 percent lower and the Shanghai Composite Index ended down 6.3 percent.

Heavyweight HSBC slid 3.6 percent to 79 HK dollars. Local bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing fell 7.5 percent to 56 HK dollars, extending Monday's 7.6 percent decline, on concerns over shrinking market turnover.

China Construction Bank was down 5.6 percent at 3.88 HK dollars on concerns Bank of America may soon reduce its 19.1 percent stake.

Among the few bright spots, Fubon Bank (Hong Kong) surged 10.3 percent to 2.14 HK dollars after the lender won regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition of a stake in China's Xiamen City Commercial Bank.

Some mainland auto makers also gained on hopes that Beijing will unveil measures to shore up the industry.

(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2008)

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