Hong Kong stocks lost ground Thursday morning, following a weak regional trend after U.S. markets sold off overnight on signs the Federal Reserve remained likely to hike interest rates later this year. Banks retreated broadly, as China Minsheng Banking Corp. dropped 2.4%, China Merchants Bank Co. shed 2.3%, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. lost 1.9%, and Bank of Communications Co. fell 1.5%. London-based Standard Chartered PLC tumbled 3.6% amid further reports its chief executive was under pressure from shareholders, and Sino-British banking giant HSBC Holdings PLC dropped 0.8%. Chinese brokerage firms suffered substantial losses after the securities regulator announced Wednesday night that it soon would launch a second round of its crackdown on margin trading practices. Shenyin Wanguo HK Ltd. slid 2.8%, Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd. fell 2.3%, and both China Galaxy Securities Co. and Citic Securities Co. moved 2% lower. A renewed slide in global crude prices dragged the energy shares lower, as Cnooc Ltd. headed down 2.5%, PetroChina Co. gave up 2%, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, pulled back 1.3%. Casino operator Sands China Ltd. inched up 0.1%, shrugging off a 18% fall in quarterly profit. Most other rivals advanced, as MGM China Holdings Ltd. and Wynn Macau Ltd. both rose 0.8% apiece, and SJM Holdings Ltd. added 0.5%. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 1%.
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