Hong Kong stocks managed to shed most of their opening losses Monday morning, shrugging off a drop for U.S. markets at the end of last week, with the Hang Seng Index down 0.1%, moving off earlier lows as weak Chinese trade data for May suggested higher odds for more government stimulus. The data printed weaker than expected, showing a 17.6% tumble in imports and a 2.5% drop for exports. Chinese brokers mostly declined, however, after China's top securities regulator said Friday that it's been revising the rules for margin trading and short selling amid rapid gains for the stock market. Shenwan Hongyuan H.K. Ltd. slid 2.7%, and Haitong Securities Co. fell 2.4%. Meanwhile, index heavyweight China Mobile Ltd. declined 1.1%, online major Tencent Holdings Ltd. fell 0.7%, and China Construction Bank Corp. dropped 0.6%. However, Bank of Communications Co. rallied 3.3% after mainland Chinese media reports quoted unnamed sources as saying that the bank is in talks with Tencent and Fosun International Ltd. for potential stake sales amid a state-backed "mixed ownership" reform to allow greater private capital into the bank. Rival Bank of China Ltd. also advanced 0.6% after reports said the bank may be the next in the trial of the "mixed ownership" reform after BoCom. CRRC Corp. , the new Chinese rail giant created by the merger of the country's two top train makers, surged 6% and 10% in Hong Kong and Shanghai, respsectively, on its first day of trading. However, its peers in the rail sector suffered losses in Hong Kong, as China Railway Group Ltd. sagged 2.9%, China Railway Construction Corp. shed 2.8%, and China Communications Construction Co. lost 1.1%. Meanwhile, mainland Chinese markets managed brief gains after the trade data, but then eased lower, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 0.3%.
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