March 20, 2012 / 8:13 AM / 6 years ago

Hong Kong shares end down 1.1 pct, Sun Hung Kai weighs

HONG KONG, March 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares finished lower in weak Tuesday trade, underperforming most Asian peers as investors took money off the table with the ongoing corporate earnings season failing to meet expectations.

The Hang Seng Index ended down 1.08 percent at 20,888.24. The China Enterprises Index of top mainland listings in Hong Kong finished down 1.5 percent at 10,870.61.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 1.38 percent at 2,376.84 as A-share turnover hit the lowest in almost two weeks.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd lost 2.4 percent and was among the top drags on the Hang Seng Index after one of its senior executives was arrested by Hong Kong’s anti-graft body over suspected bribery. Short interest in shares of Asia’s largest developer by market value accounted for 33 percent of total turnover at midday, with investors touting it as a popular short option, citing the lack of details surrounding the arrest.

* According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, of the 43 percent of Chinese companies that have reported 2011 earnings, nearly 70 percent have missed forecasts, with materials companies producing the most disappointments.

China Taiping Insurance Holdings Co Ltd slipped 1 percent after posting a 78 percent slump in 2011 profit from a year earlier. (Reporting by Clement Tan and Vikram Subhedar; Editing by Chris Lewis)

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