(Updates to close, details)
HONG KONG, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Hong Kong blue chips fell across the board on Monday, sliding 3.6 percent in their first trading day of the year of the Rat, as the market caught up with overseas losses during last week's holiday.
But trading was thin as China's stock market remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday and concerns lingered over the health of the U.S. economy.
CNOOC (0883.HK) plunged 6.45 percent to lead the blue-chip losses, but Datang Power (0991.HK) gained 1.89 percent to HK$5.40 on hopes it will benefit from the nation's power shortage.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI fell 853.35 points to 22,616.11. The China Enterprises index of H shares .HSCE, or Hong Kong-listed shares in mainland companies, slid 4.11 percent at 12,530.60.
"Overseas markets are weak and the United States is facing a major slowdown," said Joseph Lau, a director at Tai Fook Asset Management.
"Hong Kong stocks are lacking clear direction."
Chinese oil and petrochemical stocks took a beating, with PetroChina (0857.HK) down 4.49 percent at HK$10.64 and Sinopec (0386.HK) easing 4.22 percent to HK$8.40.
Mainboard turnover was HK$76.43 billion ($9.80 billion), compared with Wednesday morning's HK$70.66 billion and Tuesday's HK$85.03 billion, the last full trading day before the holiday.
"Investors are making short-term trading with the Hang Seng Index testing its bottom," said Steve Cheng, associate director at Shenyin Wanguo.
He expected the blue chip index to move within 22,000 and 25,000 points this month and in March.
"The market is waiting for the results of HSBC (0005.HK) to see how big the subprime bond impact will be on banks," he added.
Banks are due to report their 2007 earnings, with Bank of East Asia (0023.HK) set to take the lead on Friday.
Shares of Bank of East Asia slid 3.82 percent to HK$40.25. The bank said it would fully support David Li in continuing as chairman and chief executive of the bank.
Li, without admitting or denying liability, agreed to pay a civil penalty of US$8.1 million in relation to trading in shares in Dow Jones. For details please see here
HSBC ended down 4.04 percent at HK$109.30.
Chinese banks also lost ground with Bank of Communications (3328.HK) falling 6.02 percent, China Construction Bank (0939.HK) easing 5.47 percent and Bank of China (3988.HK) dropping 4.43 percent.
Goldman Sachs cut its target prices for Chinese banks on Monday by 21 percent to 31 percent as relatively high inflation in China and credit market turmoil in the United States would likely persist in 2008, it said.
Shares of Denway Motors 0203.HK fell 7.86 percent to HK$4.34 after a newspaper reported on Monday that its parent, Guangzhou Automotive Industry was eyeing a dual listing in mainland China and Hong Kong to raise a combined $1 billion. [ID:nHKG369955]
Shares of Chalco (2600.HK) fell 5.85 percent to HK$11.58.
Investors believed the firm's state-owned parent, Chinalco, was in no hurry to make a move to raise its stake in mining firm Rio Tinto (RIO.AX)(RIO.L), especially after Rio's chairman wrote to shareholders on Sunday urging them to take no action on a bid for the company by rival miner BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) BLT.L. [ID:nSYD19845]
Chinalco and its partner, U.S. aluminium giant Alcoa Inc (AA.N), gate-crashed BHP's plan for a takeover of Rio with a $14 billion purchase of a 9 percent stake in the company. ($1=HK$7.8) (Reporting by Alison Leung; editing by Anne Marie Roantree)