October 2, 2019 / 4:58 AM / 20 days ago

Hong Kong shares fall on global growth, protest worries

* Hang Seng -0.3%, H-shares -0.1%; China closed for holiday

* U.S. manufacturing gauge drops to 2009 lows, Wall St slumps

* Violence escalates in local unrest, police fire live rounds

HONG KONG, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Stocks in Hong Kong slid on Wednesday as poor U.S. data stoked fears of a steep slowdown in the world’s largest economy, while continued local social unrest hurt investor sentiment.

** The Hang Seng index fell 0.3% to 26,022.33 points. The benchmark index tested its lowest level since Sept. 4 in early trade, but later steadied. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index was down 0.1%. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 0.1%, the IT sector fell 0.6%, the financial sector dropped 0.4% and the property sector rose 0.4%. ** Fears of a U.S. economic slowdown grew after the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) index of factory activity, one of the most closely watched data on U.S. manufacturing, dropped 1.3 points to 47.8, the lowest level since June 2009. ** A slowdown in U.S. growth would remove one of the few remaining bright spots in the global economy and come just as Europe is seen as close to falling into recession. ** Asian shares ticked lower after an overnight drop on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 index touching four-week lows. MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.6%, while Japan’s Nikkei index fell 0.5%. ** China’s financial markets are closed for the week for the National Day holiday. ** “With A-shares closed, the U.S. stock market’s movement is the main point of reference for the Hang Seng Index,” analysts at CHIEF Group wrote in a note on Wednesday, adding that U.S. economic data due this week, such as private sector jobs figures , may also sway the Hong Kong market. ** In Hong Kong, police shot the first protester with live ammunition in almost four months of unrest on Tuesday, in some of the most widespread violence since the disruptions erupted in early June. ** Hong Kong will report August retail sales shortly after the stock market closes. ** Citi’s analysts said in a note on Wednesday the numbers may “decline very sharply” amid the protracted protests, global trade tensions and yuan depreciation, which hurt mainland Chinese tourists’ spending power. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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