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Hong Kong shares close flat, profit-taking hits Chinese banks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

HONG KONG, March 7 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended flat on Thursday, as investors took profit on Chinese banks, which had led gains in the previous session, and rotated into laggards ahead of key U.S. and China data on Friday.

The Hang Seng Index closed flat at 22,771. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.4 percent.

In the mainland, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings slid 1.2 percent to 2,619.5 points. The Shanghai Composite Index was down 1 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Hong Kong property developer Cheung Kong Holdings climbed 0.7 percent after it maintained its 2013 Hong Kong sales target at HK$30 billion (US$3.9 billion), a level similar to the 2012 target, while peers had reduced their goals.

* Chinese banks were among the leading index drags ahead of Beijing's release of its February trade data on Friday. Data for inflation, urban investment, industrial output and retail sales are due on Saturday, with monthly money supply and loan growth data expected from Sunday.

* The Macau gambling sector came under pressure after a term sheet showed an unidentified investor is selling 25.36 million shares in MGM China that were marketed at between HK$16.99 and HK$17.20, up to a 3.8 percent discount from its Wednesday close. MGM China slid 3.4 percent to HK$17.06, while peers SJM Holdings dived 3.6 percent and Galaxy Entertainment fell 3 percent.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130307/hong-kong-shares-close-flat-profit-taking-hits-chinese-banks