Hong Kong stocks appeared headed toward a third straight day of losses, as regional weakness persisted after the U.S. markets extended their five-day losing streak overnight. The Hang Seng Index dropped 0.5%, with the Hang Seng China Enterprises down 0.8%, with gaming stocks among the worst decliners. MGM China Holdings Ltd. lost 3.4%, and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. fell 3.2%, while Hang Seng component Sands China Ltd. was off 3.1%. Energy names also extended losses, as China Oil & Gas Group Ltd. shed 1.9%, both PetroChina Co. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) dropped 1.8% each, and Cnooc Ltd. traded lower by 1%. However, Chinese online giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. rallied 3% as reports said WeBank, partly funded by Tencent, was on track for a trial opening later this month as the first Internet private bank. Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing Ltd. advanced 0.6%, looking set to rise for a fifth straight session amid expectations that the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect program might be launched later this year. Mainland China developer Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Ltd. rose 0.4% after the company reported a 122% year-on-year surge in contract sales for December. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index swung between small gains and losses in early trade, sitting up 0.1% after the first half-hour.
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