July 31, 2020 / 8:53 AM / 6 days ago

Hong Kong shares end lower as virus concerns, likely delay in polls weigh

* HSI -0.47%, HSCE -0.57%

* China reports highest daily number of new virus cases in nearly 5 months

* Hong Kong leader likely to announce delay of legislative election

BEIJING, July 31 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended lower on Friday, as a resurgence in coronavirus infections and likely delay in local elections countered optimism over faster recovery in Chinese factories and strong U.S. tech earnings. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 115.24 points or 0.47% at 24,595.35. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.57% to 10,039.96. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 1.6%, while the IT sector dipped 0.03%, the financial sector ended 0.93% lower and the property sector rose 0.33%.

** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was AAC Technologies Holdings Inc, an acoustic component maker, which gained 3.61% as U.S. tech companies posted robust earnings. ** But the gains were offset by losses in energy stocks with CNOOC Ltd, down 2.84%, being the biggest loser on the index.

** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.71% at 3,310.01, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.84%. ** Official data showed China’s factory activity expanded at faster pace in July.

** China’s health authority reported 127 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on July 30, up from 105 the previous day, the highest daily number since March 5. ** Surging infections also threatened recovery in the U.S. economy after it suffered the biggest blow to GDP since the Great Depression in the second quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic shattered consumer and business spending.

** Investors also focused on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s announcement later in the day on a likely delay of a legislative election due to coronavirus risks, dealing a blow to the hopes of the pro-democracy opposition in the Chinese ruled city. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.29%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 2.82%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.9749 per U.S. dollar at 0810 GMT, up 0.49% from the previous close of 7.0096. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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