Hong Kong Stocks Drift Lower As Casinos Weak
Hong Kong stocks edged down Thursday morning, as the Hang Seng Index dropped 0.2%, with the Hang Seng China Enterprises down 0.5%. Macau gaming stocks recorded broad declines, as reports said Macau's government is seeking plans to curb mainland Chinese visitors due to increasing pressure by some of the city's residents. Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. dropped 3.1%, Sands China Ltd. lost 1.4%, and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. fell 1%. SJM Holdings Ltd. traded 1.3% lower after it recorded a 12.7% drop in its earnings for last year. Meanwhile, several Hong Kong retailers were also weaker, as Hong Kong's government said it too would speak with mainland Chinese authorities about restricting the number of tourists from the rest of China. Department-store operator Lifestyle International Holdings Ltd. shed 2.2%, and jeweler Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd. gave up 0.5%. Clothing retailer Esprit Holdings Ltd. slid 2.9%, after its net profit shrank by half for the second half of 2014, while beyond the retail sector, Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd. tumbled more than 11% after a 30% drop in its earnings. Meanwhile, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's two flagship companies -- Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. and Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. -- fell 0.9% and 0.2%, respectively, ahead of the release of their annual results later in the day. However, Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. , an affiliate of the other Cheung Kong, advanced 1.3% after its profit more than doubled in 2014. Life insurer AIA Group rose 0.6% after its 2014 net profit jumped 22% from the previous year. Over on the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5%.
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