June 27, 2014 / 8:20 AM / 4 years ago

Hong Kong shares end mixed as insurers weigh

HONG KONG, June 27 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended mixed on Friday after strong gains in the previous session, with weakness in insurance stocks weighing on sentiment.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed up 0.1 percent at 23,221.52 points, and eked out a similar rise for the week.

The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong slipped 0.3 percent. It posted its second straight weekly loss, down 0.9 percent.

Chinese insurers helped pull indexes lower. Ping An Insurance Group Co of China shed 0.8 percent, retreating from its 2-month high last week, while China Life Insurance lost 0.5 percent.

In a research note dated June 19, Nomura reiterated its bearish stance on the insurance sector, citing concerns about the insurers’ exposure to debt-investment plans.

Leading gains on the Hang Seng was again Want Want China Holdings, which rose 2.4 percent to a one-month high following a 5.3 percent jump on Thursday.

Daiwa Capital Markets initiated coverage on the company on Thursday with a “buy” and said they expected “a re-rating in the coming months, driven by a sales growth recovery from 2H14 and operating margin expansion.”

Standard Chartered PLC sank 4.5 percent to its lowest in three months after it warned on Thursday that profits would fall in 2014 for the second year in a row after first-half earnings dropped by a fifth due to tougher regulation and low market volatility in its trading business. (Reporting by Grace Li; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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