Hong Kong stocks struggled to stage a rebound Wednesday morning after a previous retreat, as banks added to their gains on the back of a recent interest-rate cut by China's central bank, but energy stocks posted heavy losses after international crude-oil prices fell sharply. The Hang Seng Index inched up 0.1% after swinging between gains and losses. Major Chinese banks extended their advance after the People's Bank of China lowered its 14-day repurchase-agreement rate by 20 basis points Tuesday, following a surprise interest-rate cut at the end of the previous week. Bank of China Ltd. advanced 0.8%, both Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and China Minsheng Banking Corp. rose 0.6% apiece, and China Merchants Bank Co. added 0.4%. However, energy plays headed lower, after Nymex oil futures slid to their lowest close in more than four years in New York overnight. Oil stocks in Hong Kong took solid losses, as China's largest offshore oil producer Cnooc Ltd. fell 2.3%, state-owned energy giant PetroChina Co. dropped 1.4%, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, retreated 0.6%. Other energy shares also suffered, with China Oilfield Services Ltd. down 2.4% and Kunlun Energy Co. off 0.9%. Elsewhere on the market, shares of Tencent Holdings Ltd. eased 0.2% lower, getting no help from news of a tie-up with Time Warner Inc.'s HBO. But shares of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. rallied 2.5% despite reporting sharp drops in April-September profit and revenue. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8%.
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