* HSI -0.8 pct, H-shares -1.1 pct, CSI300 -0.5 pct
* Investors cut risk ahead of holiday next week on cliff
* A-shares outperform HK 3rd week in a row
* China alcohol sector hit by more contamination reports
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Dec 21 Hong Kong shares suffered
their worst loss in three weeks on Friday as investors reduced
risky holdings at the end of the year's last full trading week
when the Republican House Speaker abandoned his Plan B bill to
avert a "fiscal cliff"."
Onshore Chinese markets also fell, with weakness in alcohol
and resource-related sectors helping trim index gains on the
week, but they are still set to outperform offshore peers for a
third straight week.
The Hang Seng Index went into the midday trading
break down 0.8 percent at 22,486.7, slipping from a 17-month
high. If losses persist, this would be its worst day since Dec.
3. The benchmark is now down 0.5 percent on the week.
The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese
listings in Hong Kong fell 1.1 percent. It is now down 0.7
percent on the week. Both Hong Kong indexes are set for their
first weekly loss in five.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index and
the CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings
each fell 0.5 percent. On the week, they are still set for a
third-straight weekly gain, up 0.3 and 0.8 percent.
"It certainly looks like people are cutting risk (in Hong
Kong) before the holidays next week, but things are not that
bad," said Benjamin Chang, chief executive officer of LBN
Advisors, a firm that manages more than $400 million in two
Republican lawmakers delivered a stinging rebuke to their
leader, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, late on
Thursday when they failed to back an effort designed to extract
concessions from President Barack Obama in fiscal cliff talks.
On Friday, Chinese banking and energy majors were among the
biggest losers of the Hang Seng Index components. Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) dived 2.1 percent,
while China Coal Energy Co Ltd fell 1.8 percent.
A more than 40 percent bounce from July 12 lows had helped
ICBC had return to its highest since early March on Thursday.
Friday's losses trimmed ICBC's gains on the year to 18.9
percent, compared to the 22 percent jump on the Hang Seng Index.
Chinese alcohol counters were hit by fresh mainland media
reports of more products containing the toxic plasticizer
elements, crimping a mild December rebound from the November
rout suffered when the first allegations first emerged.
Jiugui Liquor fell 3.3 percent, while the
sector's premium brand Kweichow Moutai fell 0.6
percent. Moutai is now up 0.5 percent on the month after diving
12.7 percent in November, its worst monthly loss in more than
Gold miners were also weak as gold prices neared four-month
lows, as investors took profit on rare earth producers which
outperformed earlier this week.
Shandong Gold shed 1.5 percent, while Inner
Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Group lost 1.7
percent, cutting its weekly gain to 11.8 percent.