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Hong Kong, China stocks end week in deep losses, investors eye bottom

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Yimou Lee and Pete Sweeney

HONG KONG, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Shares in Hong Kong and mainland China fell further on Friday, with a benchmark index suffering its biggest weekly loss in over two years, as investors took profits out of a rally that saw mainland indexes gain over 30 percent in less than two months.

The Hang Seng Index lost 0.5 percent and finished the week down 2.8 percent, its biggest weekly loss since mid-November. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong, which slipped 1 percent on Friday, slumped 4.5 percent for the full week.

China's main stock indices posted more dramatic falls, with the CSI300 index, which tracks the largest firms listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, posting its sharpest weekly drop since Nov. 2010.

The CSI300 declined every day this week except Wednesday. It fell 0.5 percent on Friday to close at 2,596.6 points, down 6.3 percent for the week.

"We are still looking to find a short-term bottom, as Hong Kong is still in the consolidation mode", said Jackson Wong, vice president for equity sales at Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong.

"Unless we see some trend reverses, it might be turning down bit by bit," Wong said.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.5 percent to 2,314.2 points, slumping 4.9 percent this week, the biggest weekly drop since May 2011.

"The pullback is a healthy correction after the recent rally, and that allowed the market to take a breather before setting off," said Steven Leung, a director at UOB Kay Hian.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 4.7 percent to its 21-month high in January, but has fallen 4 percent so far in February.

Shares of footwear retailer Belle International Holdings Ltd fell a further 5.4 percent after a 16.8 percent slide on Thursday because of a lower-than-expected profit forecast for 2012. The share price is at its lowest since November 21, 2012.

Smaller rival Daphne International Holdings Ltd was down 1.2 percent.

"Consumer market(sentiment)in mainland China is still not so clear now," said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong.

But cosmetic retailer Bonjour Holdings Ltd rose 2 percent to it highest in four weeks after it posted 29 percent year-on-year growth in retail sales during the Chinese New Year this month with same stores sales growth 38 percent.

In Hong Kong, the blue chip property sub-index, which has fallen 3.4 percent this week on expectations of fresh curbs to rein in home prices, edged down 0.1 percent on Friday.

Analysts said investors may be bottom-fishing, drawing comfort from a Chinese government statement this week that re-stated a plan to extend a property tax programme instead of new curbs.

China Overseas Land rose 1.8 percent while China Resources Land was up 1.8 percent.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130222/hong-kong-china-stocks-end-week-deep-losses-investors-eye-botto