Hong Kong Stocks Inch Higher In Early Moves

Hong Kong stocks enjoyed some slim gains in early Thursday trading, with the Hang Seng Index up 0.1%, rubbing out a little of its 0.6% loss in the previous session. The gains came as Hong Kong's H-share index fell 0.2%, and Shanghai's Composite Index edged 0.1% higher in initial trades. Stock in Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing Ltd. matched the market with a 0.1% rise after posting a roughly 8% gain in quarterly profit but offering no word on when direct trading of Shanghai-listed stocks -- seen as a potential boon for the Hong Kong bourse operator -- would get Beijing's approval. In the transports, China Railway Construction Corp. rose 1.8% after winning an unopposed bid to build high-speed rail in Mexico. Property stocks were mixed (China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. up 0.5% and Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. up 1.3%, but Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Ltd. down 1.3%, and Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. down 0.7%), while banks were mostly lower (Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. down 0.3%, China Construction Bank Corp. down 0.7%). But among the hardest hit were the casino shares, extending their losses on data earlier this week showing a sharp drop in Macau gambling revenue. Wynn Macau Ltd. fell 2.8%, and MGM China Holdings Ltd. lost 3.5%, while among the Hang Seng Index constituents, Sands China Ltd. lost 3%, and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. dropped 3.1% ahead of its earnings report due out later in the day. Also slated to report results was Lenovo Group Ltd. , its shares sitting flat in early morning trade.

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