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Hong Kong shares close 0.26% lower

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong shares fell 0.26 percent to a five-month low on Thursday, a fifth straight loss, following falls on Wall Street and on concerns over China's economy.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 57.15 points to end at 21,512.52 -- its worst close since November 20 -- on turnover of HK$54.48 billion ($7.03 billion).

Traders are still reeling from data out of China on Monday showing the economy, the world's second biggest, grew at a slower pace in January-March than it did in the previous three months, stoking fears about a recent recovery.

"Fund flow is very important to Hong Kong, and right now, US and Japanese markets are where funds are flowing to, due to monetary easing. On the contrary, China is tightening," said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at KGI Asia.

US markets suffered their second big fall in three days Wednesday, pulled down by a dive in Apple shares.

Apple fell 5.5 percent to below $400 for the first time since late 2011 after one of its US suppliers slashed its profit guidance, which analysts said indicated slow iPhone and iPad sales.

Adding to selling pressure was Bank of America's below-forecast earnings for the January-March quarter.

The Dow fell 0.94 percent, the S&P 500 dropped 1.43 percent and the Nasdaq lost 1.84 percent.

In Hong Kong PC maker Lenovo fell 3.3 percent to HK$6.45 and has now given up more than 14 percent following data showing global personal computer sales had slumped.

PetroChina slipped 0.53 percent to HK$9.31 and HSBC fell 0.38 percent to HK$79.65. Cathay Pacific was unchanged at HK$12.98.

However, developer China Overseas Land rose 1.6 percent to HK$22.45 and China Resources Land was up 2.3 percent at HK$22.15.

Chinese shares ended up 0.17 percent thanks to bargain buying. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 3.80 points to 2,197.60 on turnover of 61.9 billion yuan ($10.0 billion).

However, analysts said concerns over the health of the domestic economy would likely hurt buying interest in the short term.

"The market may still have downside room given investor jitters over weakened economic recovery momentum," New Times Securities chief investment adviser Qin Maojun told Dow Jones Newswires.

Among brokerages and banks China Merchants Securities jumped 3.0 percent to 12.02 yuan while Industrial Bank gained 1.29 percent to 17.21 yuan.

Concerns over upcoming earnings saw Shaanxi Qinling Cement drop 3.09 percent to 5.96 yuan while Anhui Conch Cement fell 1.26 percent to 18.81 yuan.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130418/hong-kong-shares-close-026-lower-0