* SSEC +0.2 pct, CSI300 +0.1 pct, HSI -0.6 pct
* Safe haven assets rise after Trump orders air attack on
SHANGHAI, April 7 Hong Kong stocks hit a
three-week low on Friday morning, as investors shifted to safe
haven assets such as gold and bonds after the United States
fired cruise missiles at an air base in Syria.
China stocks, not impacted by the news on Syria, edged
higher. Strength in defence shares and energy majors offset
weakness in construction plays due to profit-taking after the
sector's two-day rally.
In Hong Kong, where the market is more exposed to global
volatility, the benchmark Hang Seng index was down 0.6
percent at midday, to 24,137.11, while the Hong Kong China
Enterprises Index lost 0.4 percent, to 10,233.85.
For the week, the Hang Seng was up 0.1 percent.
Sentiment in Hong Kong was already soft as investors awaited
results of U.S. President Donald Trump's talks with his Chinese
counterpart Xi Jinping, expected to cover North Korea and
China's big trade surplus with the United States.
Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities Ltd, said
the missile attack on Syria was the main reason for Friday's
fall in Hong Kong.
"But there's no need to panic, what will come out of Trump
and Xi's meeting is more important."
Yip said sentiment would be lifted if Trump softens his
initial tough attitude with China in the meeting.
Price of gold and domestic bonds rose as
investors sought safety.
Oil firms advanced on higher oil prices, bucking the
broad trend. An index tracking energy majors gained 1.6
percent at midday.
In China, the blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.1
percent, to 3,518.85, while the Shanghai Composite Index
gained 0.2 percent, to 3,289.09.
The Shanghai index has gained 2.1 percent so far this week.
Mainland markets were mixed. Construction stocks
contracted 0.4 percent after hitting a 16-month high on
Thursday. The sub-index had rallied 6.2 percent in the past two
sessions on news that China would launch a new economic zone.
Energy and defence sub-indexes were
up more than 1 percent at the lunch break.
(Reporting by Jackie Cai and John Ruwitch; Editing by Richard