Hong Kong stocks opened higher on Friday morning but soon went down to end in negative ground amid lackluster session.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened at 22,536.12, staging a modest rebound from Thursday's 4.79 percent plunge as the liquidation shortage of London-based Carlyle Capital fund stoked the fire amid concerns over the United States market.
But the Hang Seng Index failed to hold, with researchers saying the Hong Kong market was embarking on a bearish cycle amid weakening fundamentals.
"We believe the risk appetite of the overall market has been reduced substantially in the past three months," said local researcher 3V Research.
The Hang Seng Index dipped to the day's low of 22,151.51 at the end of the morning trading, down 150.13 points, or 0.67 percent from the previous close.
The key barometer moved between 22,151.51 and 22,536.12 on a turnover of 88.28 billion HK dollars (11.32 billion U.S. dollars), at about the recent average level but lower than Thursday's 106.84 billion HK dollars (13.64 billion U.S. dollars).
Analysts said they expected volatility to continue in the near term.
China Mobile, the major carrier on the Chinese mainland and largest stock on the Hong Kong stock market by capitalization, added 1 HK dollar at 107.4 HK dollars.
HSBC, the market's heavy-weight blue chip, gained 0.4 HK dollars, or 0.33 percent, to close at 122.9 HK dollars, while its local unit Hang Seng Bank gained 1.1 HK dollars, or 0.81 percent, at 137.5 HK dollars.
The finance sub-index, one of the four major categories, suffered a loss of 0.25 percent at 32,325.64, with the mainland- based commercial banking giant ICBC losing 0.05 HK dollars, or 1. 01 percent, to close at 4.92 HK dollars.
Bank of China edged down 0.01 HK dollars at 3.1 HK dollars while its local unit BOC Hong Kong lost 0.4 HK dollars, or 2.21 percent, at 17.7 HK dollars.
China Life edged up 0.1 HK dollars, or 0.36 percent, at 27.75 HK dollars.
The commerce and industry genre lost 0.67 percent to close at 12,914.24 and the properties suffered the most, going down by 0.81 percent.
SHK Properties, the largest residential developer in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, added 1.1 HK dollars, or 0.94 percent, to close at 118.3 HK dollars while Henderson Land closed flat at 54.6 HK dollars.
Hang Lung Properties lost 0.85 HK dollars or 3.33 percent at 24. 65 HK dollars.
The utilities genre bucked the trend to surge 3.65 percent, or 1576.07 points, to close at 44,800.18, with Hong Kong and China Gas, the local player, gaining 0.9 HK dollars, or 4.12 percent, at 22.7 HK dollars.
(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2008)