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Hong Kong stocks close 0.70% lower

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong shares fell 0.70 percent on Tuesday as dealers returned from a long weekend to fresh data indicating a slowdown in the Chinese economy.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index eased 144.64 points to end at 20,658.65 on turnover of HK$69.74 billion ($9.00 billion).

On Monday, a public holiday in Hong Kong, data showed that Chinese manufacturing activity contracted further in June.

HSBC said its final purchasing managers' index (PMI) reading was 48.2 last month, down from 49.2 in May and the lowest since September.

The figures added fuel to concerns about the global economic powerhouse, which has shown signs of slowing growth this year.

State-run banking giant Industrial & Commercial Bank fell 2.9 percent to HK$4.75, while China Construction Bank slumped 3.9 percent to HK$5.28.

But shares of PetroChina surged 6.7 percent to HK$8.80 after the announcement of price hikes in domestic natural gas supplies.

Energy services companies also traded broadly higher -- Anton Oilfield climbed 6.1 percent to HK$5.94 and SPT Energy jumped 3.8 percent to HK$4.90.

Despite the concern over manufacturing figures, Chinese shares closed up 0.57 percent Tuesday on bargain-buying following a huge sell-off last week.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 11.32 points to 2,006.56 on turnover of 74.0 billion yuan ($12.1 billion).

"It's a normal rebound as shares were oversold last week," Sinolink Securities analyst Tao Jinggang told AFP.

"Investors are also betting on first-half corporate earnings from sectors like pharmaceuticals and media," he said.

Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical jumped 5.46 percent to 11.21 yuan, while traditional Chinese medicine firm Beijing Tongrentang gained 4.07 percent to 23.25 yuan.

Northern United Publishing & Media advanced 4.35 percent to 6.24 yuan and Zhejiang Daily Media Group rose 2.82 percent to 24.40 yuan.

Banks remained weak despite easing liquidity concerns in the financial system, with Industrial Bank dropping 2.26 percent to 14.28 yuan and China Merchants Bank falling 1.49 percent to 11.21 yuan.

--- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report ---

dan/lm/pdh

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