Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index Falls on Lower Earnings; AIA Advances on Debut

Hong Kong stocks fell, paring the Hang Seng Index’s monthly gain, after Bank of Communications Co. and China Life Insurance Co. reported earnings that missed analysts’ estimates. AIA Group Ltd. rose on its first day of trading.

BoCom, China’s fifth-largest lender, tumbled 7.8 percent. China Life slid 3 percent and was the greatest drag on the Hang Seng Index. Esprit Holdings Ltd., the biggest Hong Kong-listed clothier, declined 2 percent after reporting sales fell 9 percent. AIA, the insurer sold by American International Group Inc. in a $17.8 billion initial public offering, surged 17 percent.

The Hang Seng Index declined 0.5 percent to 23,096.32 at the close. That pared the measure’s gain this month to 3.3 percent. The index has fallen 3.2 percent since Oct. 14, when U.S. reports showed jobless claims unexpectedly rising and the country’s trade deficit widening, increasing speculation the Federal Reserve will act to shore up the world’s largest economy.

“There’s a lot of noise about more quantitative easing in the U.S.,” said Steven Leung, director of institutional sales at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd. in Hong Kong. “So many people are locking in profit. There’ll be a few more banks reporting earnings later today, and we’ll need to see what they have to say about provisions.”

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of so-called H shares of Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies dropped 1.2 percent to 13,168.68.

Twice as many stocks fell as advanced on the 45-member Hang Seng Index. Futures on the index slipped 0.6 percent to 22,973.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Gentle in Hong Kong at ngentle2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net.

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