Hong Kong shares close up 0.1 pct, Sands China down

HONG KONG, July 26 Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:10am EDT

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HONG KONG, July 26 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares eked out their first gain in four sessions on Thursday, with strength in defensives offsetting weakness in Sands China after its parent posted underwhelming second-quarter earnings, dragging the broader Macau gaming sector lower.

The Hang Seng Index ended up nearly 0.1 percent at 18,892.8 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong finished down 0.1 percent at 9,210.9.

In the mainland, the CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings shed 0.5 percent at the lowest since Jan. 9. The Shanghai Composite Index also lost 0.5 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS

* Sands China tumbled 4.9 percent, closing at its lowest since Dec. 20 and spreading weakness to its Macau gaming peers. Concern over the sector's July revenues is beginning to surface, with some suggesting that the industry in Macau could see a first monthly decline since 2010, traders said.

* Hong Kong Exchange (HKEx) fell 1.3 percent to its lowest since last October, but held above HK$100, after London Metal Exchange (LME) shareholders voted convincingly on Wednesday to accept its $2.2 billion offer.

* Chinese shampoo maker BaWang International (Group) Holding Ltd HK> slumped 10 percent after it warned of a first half loss, while restaurant chain operator Ajisen (China) Holdings Ltd slipped 3.9 percent after warning of a significant decline in first half profits. (Reporting by Clement Tan and Vikram Subhedar; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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