Insurers drag Hong Kong shares lower, as trade remains in focus - Nikkei Asian Revie

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares fell on Friday, driven by losses for insurance heavyweights, as investors digested company earnings and awaited further clarity on U.S.-China trade relations.

The Hang Seng Index declined 0.5% to 26,667.39. Ping An Insurance Group fell 3.9% after the insurer lowered its outlook for new business value for the year during an analysts' call Thursday. The company earlier reported a 63.2% year-on-year increase in net profit for the January-to-September period. Pan-Asia insurer AIA Group slipped 0.7%.

Offshore oil producer CNOOC added 0.2% after reporting a 0.8% increase in third-quarter oil-and-gas sales revenue.

Hong Kong's main equity benchmark edged 0.2% lower for the week after trading in a roughly 350-point range over the past five days. Sino-American trade relations have been in focus, even as Beijing and Washington indicated that they are on track to sign phase one of a deal by the time U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile next month.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticized China over a number of issues in a speech on Thursday, including the "theft" of U.S. intellectual property and the slashing of civil "rights and liberties" in Hong Kong.

If China's reaction to Pence's speech is "quite negative, the stock market will go further south," said Castor Pang, head of research at Core Pacific Yamaichi International (Hong Kong). "For the mark....

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