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15 December 2018, Saturday  |  
 
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Market Commentary - Foreign Markets  
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Hong Kong Stocks drop amid trade concerns
(15:38, 05 Dec 2018)
Headline shares of the Hong Kong market were lower on Wednesday, 5 December 2018, as investors calmed down after cheering a temporary truce in the Sino-U.S. trade war. China expressed confidence on Wednesday that it can reach a trade deal with the United States, despite fresh warnings from President Donald Trump that he would revert to more tariffs if the two sides cannot resolve their differences. But there remained uncertainty over what progress could be made resolving trade disputes between Beijing and Washington before the 90-day deadline expires. At closing bell, the Hang Seng Index dropped 440.76 points or 1.62% to 26,819.68. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 150.59 points or 1.4% to 10,756.95. Turnover decreased to HK$79.2 billion from HK$92.71 billion on Tuesday.

Local financial market opened lower on tracking losses in U.S markets overnight after President Donald Trump called himself “Tariff Man” and questioned whether a deal with China was possible.

China has issued an upbeat but vague promise to carry out a tariff cease-fire with Washington but gave no details that might help dispel confusion about what Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump agreed to in Argentina. China has yet to confirm Trump's claim Beijing promised to cut auto tariffs and immediately buy more American farm goods. That has fueled doubts the weekend deal will lead to a lasting settlement of a fight over technology that threatens to chill global economic growth.

China's commerce ministry said on Wednesday that Beijing and Washington will push forward with trade negotiations in the next 90 days and that it is confident that an agreement can be reached, amid growing scepticism that the two sides will be able to reach a substantive deal on a host of highly divisive issues before the deadline. US President Donald Trump on Tuesday held out the possibility of an extension of the 90-day trade truce with China but warned he would revert to tariffs if the two sides could not resolve their differences.

China's services sector grew at its quickest pace in five months in November due to an uptick in new orders, a private survey released showed, although the outlook for businesses over the next year worsened for the third month. The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 53.8 in November from 50.8 in October, well above the 50.0 mark separating growth from contraction. The bounce off the 13-month low in October suggests pockets of strength in domestic demand in a sector that accounts for more than half of China's gross domestic product and urban jobs. The subindex for new business in China's services sector rose to 52.5 in November, also a five-month high, from 50.1 in October, although the rate of growth was modest and within recent ranges. Caixin's composite manufacturing and services PMI, also released on Wednesday, rose to 51.9 in November from 50.5 in October, although the growth rate was relatively marginal compared with previous months.

Market heavyweights were mostly weaker. HSBC (00005) slipped 2.6% to HK$66.3. Tencent (00700) shed 2.3% to HK$321. HKEX (00388) fell 1.7% to HK$235.8. AIA (01299) slipped 3.3% to HK$64.8.

Major handset components suppliers bore the selling brunt as Apple's share price tumbled 4.4% overnight. Sunny Optical (02382) dived 7.3% to HK$74. AAC Technologies (02018) sank 3.7% to HK$54.6. (00285) fell 2.7% to HK$11.36. Cowell e Holdings (01415) gained 0.9% to HK$1.1, extending the last two days' rally of 14.7%.

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