Hong Kong stocks end flat as U.S. data awaited


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Hong Kong stocks ended flat on Thursday as investors awaited U.S. inflation data for any sign the Federal Reserve could start tapering its massive stimulus.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 3.75 points or 0.01% at 28,738.88. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.11% to 10,716.28.

** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 0.1%, while the IT sector rose 0.23%, the financial sector ended 0.73% lower and the property sector rose 0.75%.

** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was BYD Co Ltd, which gained 6.36%, while the biggest loser was Haidilao International Holding Ltd, which fell 2.82%.

** The U.S. May CPI data would be a focus next and investors needed to be very cautious as the Hang Seng index could choose a direction soon after trading in narrow ranges recently, First Shanghai Securities said in a report.

** Shares of Chinese food delivery giant Meituan closed up 1.6%, snapping a six-session losing streak, on aggressive hiring spree.

** China’s central bank governor said inflation was “basically under control,” and monetary policy would be kept steady, in comments a day after concerns over inflationary pressures were fanned by data showing the fastest rise in factory-gate prices in 12 years.

** Eyes were also on Sino-U.S. relations.

** Top U.S. and Chinese commerce officials spoke by telephone and agreed to promote healthy trade and cooperate over differences, China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday, the latest high-level exchange as the countries spar over disagreements.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.46%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.34%. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom Editing by Robert Birsel)