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Hong Kong stocks close down 0.57%

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong stocks fell 0.57 percent Thursday, giving up earlier gains after a last-minute deal to avert a catastrophic US default, as attention turned to the upcoming release of Chinese growth data.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index eased 133.45 points to 23,094.88 on turnover of HK$56.76 billion ($7.32 billion).

Asian shares mostly rose after a bill to reopen the US government and raise the country's borrowing limit was finally passed, thereby avoiding a debt default.

Economists had warned a US default would have had devastating consequences for the global economy and tipped it into another recession.

However, while there was relief an agreement had been reached, most markets had expected a deal.

Eyes are now on Friday's Chinese gross domestic product data for the third quarter. While the mainland economy has showed signs of improvement -- following a severe slowdown in the first six months -- recent data have raised fears that the pick-up is not as strong as first thought.

Bank of Communications lost 1.39 percent to HK$5.69, Bank of China shed 0.83 percent to HK$3.59 but Bank of East Asia added 0.15 percent to HK$33.00.

Chinese shares closed down 0.21 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slipped 4.53 points to 2,188.54 on turnover of 113.1 billion yuan ($18.5 billion).

"The deal reached in the United States to delay a debt crisis failed to stimulate the domestic stock market," Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

"Expectations for third-quarter growth are not bad, but investors worry that there might be just a short-term recovery," he added.

Media firms and companies linked to Shanghai's new free-trade zone extended losses.

Shanghai Xinhua Media slumped by its 10 percent daily limit to 10.40 yuan, while Time Publishing and Media dropped 4.71 percent to 14.56 yuan.

Shanghai Jinqiao Export Processing Zone Development lost 5.94 percent to 12.66 yuan and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Development fell 3.46 percent to 44.59 yuan.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131017/hong-kong-stocks-close-down-057