Hang Seng inches higher on property, consumer boost

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  • Hang Seng index ends up 0.05%
  • Consumer staples +2.59%, property and construction +1.03%
  • Country Garden slumps after convertible bond plan

Jan 21 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's Hang Seng index (.HSI) closed higher on Friday, turning around from earlier losses on a boost from real estate and consumer staples firms, but sentiment remained fragile amid concern over Fed tightening and China's economic outlook.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index (.HSI) was up 13.20 points or 0.05% at 24,965.55, after earlier falling more than 0.9%. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index (.HSCE) rose 0.29% to 8,787.3.

** Gains were led by consumer staples firms, with an index tracking the sector (.HSCICS) closing up 2.59% on the day.

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** A sub-index tracking property and construction firms (.HSCIPC) rose in the afternoon session to close 1.03% higher, led by a 5.06% rise in Kerry Properties (0683.HK) and a 4.95% gain in Sunac China Holdings (1918.HK)

** The index has risen for four straight sessions this week on hopes that a slew of recent government measures will help ease the sector's funding squeeze and reverse a slump in construction.

** In the latest indication of easing moves to combat a slowing economy, sources told Reuters that China's central bank will cut interest rates on its standing lending facility loans for all tenors on Friday. read more

** But China Evergrande Group (3333.HK) fell 0.56% and Country Garden Holdings (2007.HK) dropped 2.87% amid continued concerns over liquidity.

** Evergrande said on Friday it was hiring more financial and legal advisers after a group of international creditors said it would take "enforcement action" if the property developer did not do more to resolve a debt default. read more

** Country Garden, China's biggest property developer by sales, said it would issue HK$3.9 billion ($500.76 million) of convertible bonds to refinance debt after reportedly failing to attract sufficient demand for a $300 million convertible bond last week.

** China's main Shanghai Composite index (.SSEC) closed down 0.91% at 3,522.57 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index (.CSI300) ended down 0.92%.

** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was weaker by 1.01%, while Japan's Nikkei index (.N225) closed down 0.9%.

($1 = 7.7881 Hong Kong dollars)

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Reporting by Andrew Galbraith Editing by Mark Heinrich

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