Hong Kong stocks started with losses Thursday and headed lower after preliminary Chinese manufacturing data showed output rising at a faster pace but demand growth slowing. The Hang Seng Index was down 0.4% about 45 minutes into trade, moving in tandem with the Shanghai Composite Index , also 0.4% lower. Among the significant decliners, China Gas Holdings Ltd. dropped 1.5%, Cnooc Ltd. retreated 1.4% in the face of falling oil prices, and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. gave up 1.6%, while China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. lost 3% and China Telecom Corp. fell 1.3% amid weakness in the telco sector. The major banks were mixed, with Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. up 0.6%, and Bank of Communications Co. adding 1.6%, while Bank of China Ltd. lost 0.3%, and Standard Chartered PLC fell 0.4%. Among the major gainers, Agile Property Holdings Ltd. rose 2.5%, though reasons for the move weren't immediately clear, while BYD Co. added 1.6% as J.P. Morgan tipped the electric-car maker to offer strong fourth-quarter guidance. Airlines had opened the session higher, benefitting from the drop in fuel prices, but most soon turned to losses, with China Eastern Airlines Corp. down 0.8%, and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. lower by 1%, though Air China Ltd. held to a 0.2% gain.
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