Hong Kong stocks ended the morning down on Friday, as traders returned from the three-day Lunar New Year break to fading optimism over China-US talks and European growth.
But the Hang Seng Index clawed back from its deep fall at the start, but was still down 0.5 percent, to 27,854 by the break.
At a ceremony to mark the first trading day in the Year of the Pig, the Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, reminded companies to maintain a stable and healthy position while developing their businesses.
Chan said the external economy is facing uncertainties and downward pressure. But he said the government has confidence in Hong Kong’s financial system, noting that the Hong Kong stock exchange came first among all IPO markets in the world last year
The mainland and Taiwanese markets remain closed for the week.
"Fear raised its ugly head in overnight market action," said CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy.
"US investors cited concerns about seemingly stagnant trade negotiations between China and the US, despite a week long holiday in China."
Tokyo shed 1.7. Sydney lost 0.5 percent as Australia's central bank downgraded its economic outlook. (AFP)
Last updated: 2019-02-08 HKT 12:29