Hong Kong shares slip as virus, regulatory concerns weigh

* Hang Seng index ends down 0.1%

* China Enterprises index HSCE falls 0.25%

* Property sector down 0.6%; Evergrande slumps on downgrade

Aug 6 (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed lower on Friday, hit by concerns over tightening government regulations and rising COVID-19 cases in China, even as southbound inflows from mainland investors offered support. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 25.29 points, or 0.1%, at 26,179.40, though it finished up 0.84% for the week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.25% to 9,273.55. ** The drop came as China on Friday reported its highest daily count for new coronavirus infections in its current outbreak. The rise in cases has fuelled concern about the outlook for China’s uneven economic recovery. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking healthcare firms fell 2.26%, as WuXi Biologics (Cayman) Inc dropped 4.85%, making it the biggest loser on the Hang Seng. ** The financial sector edged 0.08% lower and the property sector dipped 0.6%. ** Shares of highly indebted property developer China Evergrande Group slumped 4.59% after rating agency S&P Global downgraded the credit ratings for Evergrande and some subsidiaries. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.24% at 3,458.23, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended down 0.55%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.21%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.33%. ** Trading was relatively thin, with about 1.56 billion Hang Seng index shares changing hands, roughly 72.5% of the market’s 30-day moving average of 2.15 billion shares a day and down from 1.70 billion on Thursday. ** But mainland investors were net buyers on the day. Refinitiv data showed flows from mainland investors through the Southbound leg of the Bond Connect programme topped HK$7 billion ($900.21 million).

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