Hong Kong shares close flat

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong shares ended flat on Friday as late bargain-hunting pared earlier losses fuelled by a Wall Street sell-off and fears over Portugal’s biggest listed bank.

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The benchmark Hang Seng Index dipped 5.54 points to 23,233.45 on turnover of HK$51.43 billion (US$6.64 billion).

Stocks in Europe and New York dived on news that the holding firm of Banco Espirito Santo had failed to make payments on some short-term debt revived memories of the eurozone sovereign and banking debt crisis of 2011.

Trading in the bank’s shares were suspended in Lisbon Thursday after its shares plummeted 17.24 percent.

The crisis comes less than two months after Portugal exited a three-year, $106 billion international bailout which had helped the government avert a default.

On Wall Street the Dow fell 0.42 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.41 percent and Nasdaq shed 0.52 percent.

However, while the initial reaction to the Portugal crisis was bad, fears gave way to calm and investors picked up cheap stocks at the end of the day.

Cathay Pacific Airways was unchanged at HK$14.22, CNOOC lost 0.45 percent to HK$13.38 and Ping An Insurance of China eased 0.42 percent to HK$58.85, while HSBC slipped 0.38 percent to HK$78.60.

AFP

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