Hong Kong shares end lower as Sino-U.S. tensions simmer

* Hang Seng index ends down 0.83%

* China Enterprises index HSCE falls 0.96%

* Pompeo views weigh on HSBC, index as South China Sea tensions escalate

Aug 27 (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s benchmark share index ended lower on Thursday as tensions between the United States and China weighed on sentiment, and as global investors awaited the outlook on monetary policy from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

** Sino-U.S. tensions ratcheted higher over the South China Sea as Washington blacklisted 24 Chinese companies and targeted individuals it said were part of construction and military actions in the disputed waterway, while Beijing reportedly test-fired missiles into the area on Wednesday.

** Hong Kong shares of HSBC Holdings PLC slumped 1.91%, pulling the Hang Seng index lower, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo renewed criticism of the bank for its reported treatment of customers linked with the pro-democracy movement in the Chinese-ruled city.

** The Hang Seng index ended down 210.64 points or 0.83% at 25,281.15. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.96% to 10,201.94.

** Investors now await Powell’s speech on Thursday, which is expected to outline a more flexible approach to policy including a shift to targeting an average inflation rate around 2% that will allow rates to stay super-low for longer.

** Meanwhile, China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.61% at 3,350.11 on stronger industrial profits, while the blue-chip CSI300 index gained 0.54%.

** Profits at China’s industrial firms grew for a third straight month in July and at the fastest pace since June 2018, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.38%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.35%.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.8795 per U.S. dollar at 0818 GMT, 0.09% firmer than the previous close of 6.8855.

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