Hong Kong opens new year on a negative note - RTHK
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Hong Kong opens new year on a negative note

2019-02-08 HKT 17:50
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  • Lack of progress in China-US trade talks disheartened investors. File photo: RTHK
    Lack of progress in China-US trade talks disheartened investors. File photo: RTHK
Hong Kong stocks ended lower on Friday over pessimism about US-China trade talks and European growth, following the three-day Lunar New Year break.

The Hang Seng Index sank 0.2 percent, to 27,946.

Shanghai and Shenzhen remain closed for the week.

Tokyo closed down 2 percent, although Sony bucked the trend to soar more than 4 percent after announcing a plan for share buybacks worth up to 100 billion yen.

Seoul lost 1.2 percent, Jakarta 0.4 percent and Manila 0.4 percent.

The pound and euro slipped after EU President Donald Tusk warned there was "no breakthrough in sight" in Brexit talks, and the Bank of England also cut its UK growth forecast while keeping interest rates unchanged.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia became the latest central bank to slash growth forecasts, citing the effects of a weaker housing market.

It said growth would reach 2.5 percent in the middle of this year, well down from the 3.25 percent it previously projected.

"Many of the central banks are reacting to the fact that the global economic situation has worsened," Komal Sri-Kumar, founder and president at Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, told Bloomberg TV.

Sydney lost 0.3 percent in Friday trading, while the Australian dollar also fell.

The safe-haven yen edged up on the sombre outlook, but the US dollar strengthened against most other currencies, as oil prices tumbled. (AFP)