Hong Kong shares end down 0.3 pct in 4th straight loss
HONG KONG May 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares suffered a fourth consecutive loss on Tuesday as weakness in Chinese property developers helped reverse early gains in the face of stiff chart resistance formed after Monday's slump.
The Hang Seng Index closed down 0.25 percent at 20,484.75. The China Enterprises Index of top mainland listings in Hong Kong finished down 0.46 percent at 10,525.75.
The Shanghai Composite Index ended down 0.12 percent at 2,448.88, with brokerages broadly weaker as investors took profit on the year's outperformers.
* The Hang Seng Index ended near the bottom of the session's trading range after opening near Monday's highs, at about 20,674.5, also the bottom of a chart gap that opened up after Monday's 2.6 percent drop. Market watchers said it would be difficult for the benchmark to scale this gap without firm, positive catalysts that could come as soon as May 10, when China starts posting economic data for April.
* Chinese developers were broadly weaker as a sector. Chinese official media confirmed on Tuesday that the country's largest lender Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd had suspended mortgage discounts for first-time home buyers, exacerbating fears that a sector pivotal to the world's second-largest economy could tank. Agile Property Holdings Ltd retreated 3.7 percent in almost triple its 30-day average volume.
* Several brokerages released reports this week warning of further possible earnings downgrades for Chinese companies after weak quarterly results. David Cui, Bank of America-Merril Lynch's chief China equity strategist said in a report on Tuesday that he expected continued labour cost pressures to further squeeze margins and market earnings. (Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Chris Lewis)
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