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Hong Kong stocks end 0.59% down

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong shares fell 0.59 percent on Tuesday as fears over possible US military intervention in Syria weighed on market sentiment.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 130.55 points to 21,874.77 on turnover of HK$47.97 billion ($6.18 billion).

Shares of transit-and-property company MTR Corp rose 1.1 percent to HK$28.85, while China Southern Airlines Co. fell 3.8 percent to HK$2.81 after the company reported a weaker-than-expected first-half profit.

Chinese shares closed up 0.34 percent on Tuesday on follow-through buying of Shanghai-based firms after the government announced a free trade zone in the city, dealers said.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 7.10 points to 2,103.57 on turnover of 104.6 billion yuan ($17.1 billion).

State media said Tuesday that China's national legislature was reviewing plans for the zone, which the central government approved last week.

"In the long term, the Shanghai free trade zone could mean a great deal," Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

The government has yet to release details of what will be allowed in the zone, but analysts say it could allow greater liberalisation of the financial sector.

Shanghai Jinqiao Export Processing Zone Development surged by its 10 percent daily limit to 10.64 yuan while Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development jumped 6.61 percent to 6.94 yuan.

Metal producers were higher on stronger global prices.

Baotou Steel Rare-Earth gained 3.63 percent to 30.24 yuan and Guangdong Dongyanguang Aluminium rose 1.10 percent to 7.33 yuan.

Shares in PetroChina, China's largest oil company by capacity, were suspended in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The company issued a statement saying its vice president, executive director and chief geologist were under investigation by authorities.

The official Xinhua news agency said the executives were being probed over suspected "serious violation of disciplines", which usually means corruption.

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

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130827/hong-kong-stocks-end-059-down