Hong Kong, Shanghai shares slip

Hong Kong and Shanghai shares slipped Thursday, in line with a global sell-off, as tumbling oil prices hit energy firms.

The Hang Seng Index shed 0.90 percent, or 211.98 points, to 23,312.54 on turnover of HK$98.08 billion ($12.66 billion).

Traders followed their counterparts in the United States and Europe in taking profits after a recent run-up that has been fuelled by strong US data, Japanese easing measures and hopes for stimulus in China.

On Wall Street the Dow and S&P 500, which last week ended at record highs, fell owing to losses in energy firms that came after OPEC lowered its demand forecast for 2015 and the US revealed its stockpiles surged.

The Dow fell 1.51 percent, the S&P 500 sank 1.64 percent and the Nasdaq slipped 1.73 percent.

While oil edged up slightly from heavy selling Wednesday, both main crude contracts are at levels not seen since mid-2009, putting pressure on Hong Kong-listed energy firms. CNOOC fell 1.57 percent to HK$10.06 and PetroChina eased 1.10 percent to HK$8.07.

Among other firms Tencent fell 1.82 percent to HK$113.40, HSBC eased 0.85 percent to HK$75.80 and China Mobile lost 0.60 percent to HK$91.20.

However, Cathay Pacific Airways rose 1.97 percent to HK$17.58 thanks to the lower oil price.

In mainland China the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.49 percent, or 14.27 points, to 2,925.74 on turnover of 479.8 billion yuan ($78.5 billion).

But the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, rose 0.90 percent, or 13.06 points, to 1,465.59 on turnover of 296.3 billion yuan.

"The (Shanghai) market continued the consolidation near the 3,000 mark and financial shares continued to weigh down the Shanghai market after strong gains earlier," Qian Qimin, analyst from Shenyin & Wanguo Securities, told AFP. "It may stabilise at this level next week."

China's stock market has swung wildly in recent weeks, with a rapid run-up since a surprise November 21 interest rate cut, followed by a major one-day loss on Tuesday.

Bank giant Industrial and Commercial Bank of China eased 2.33 percent to 4.20 yuan. Shanghai-listed China Pacific Insurance fell 4.53 percent to 24.23 yuan while Shenzhen-listed Shanxi Securities Co. lost 8.47 percent to 14.58 yuan.

Airline companies rose on hopes of lower costs after oil prices sank to a five-year lows. On the Shanghai market, China Eastern Airlines surged by its 10 percent daily limit to 5.89 yuan while China Southern Airlines Co. also jumped 10 percent to 5.54 yuan.

dan/ac