Hong Kong shares follow China market lower

Hong Kong - Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index surrendered early gains of as much as 1% and ended Thursday lower, dragged by a last-hour slide in mainland stocks, as investors awaited the US Federal Reserve's policy decision later in the day.

But an index tracking Hong Kong-listed Chinese shares managed to stay in positive territory.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.5% to 21 854.63, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.6% to 9 964.17 points.

The US central bank is considering raising interest rates for the first time since 2006, although economists are split in their expectations. The Fed's decision is due at 20:00.

Sam Chi Yung, analyst at Delta Asia Financial Group, said Hong Kong stocks would benefit from a US rate rise because the action would remove one of the biggest uncertainties facing investors, and would also help strengthen the Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to the US currency.

Energy, industrials and financial shares gained while declining sectors included utilities, IT and telecommunications.

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