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Monday, October 17, 2016, 16:21

Shares drift near 1-1/2-month lows

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HONG KONG - Hong Kong shares drifted near 1-1/2-month lows on Monday, as a cautious mood prevailed ahead of a slew of China data this week that investors hope will paint a clearer picture of how the world's second largest economy is faring.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.8 percent, to 23,037.54, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.6 percent, to 9,541.08 points.

The recent correction in Hong Kong stocks is natural after the market's strong rally last quarter, and as mainland money inflows have fallen sharply this month, said Alex Wong, Hong Kong-based director at Ample Finance Group.

"The market is looking for a direction. This week's China economic data will be in focus," Wong said.

China's economy likely grew 6.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the same pace as in April-June, according to a Reuters poll of economists on GDP data to be released on Wednesday.

Other China economic data to be released this week include money supply, loan growth, urban investment, industrial output and retail sales.

All main sectors fell in Hong Kong on Monday, with telecom ces shares leading the decline.

Shares of Macau gambling stocks, including Melco International, Wynn Macau Ltd and Galaxy, fell sharply on concern about their strategy for luring Chinese gamblers after Australia's Crown Resorts Ltd of its staff have been detained in the mainland.

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