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Hong Kong shares end lower on worries over new coronavirus strain

Dec 22 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks fell on Tuesday, tracking losses in its regional peers, as investors fear a highly infectious new coronavirus strain detected hit Britain could hurt global economic recovery.

** Countries across the globe shut their borders to Britain on Monday on worries about the new strain of the coronavirus, causing travel chaos and raising the prospect of food shortages days before Britain is set to leave the European Union.

** “Markets have been unable to recover from yesterday’s mauling, with risks increasing for significantly extended lockdowns in several countries, uncertainty about transport links, and individual mobility flags red,” said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at Axi.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 187.43 points or 0.71% at 26,119.25. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.17% to 10,384.18.

** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 1.6%, while the IT sector dipped 0.25%, the financial sector ended 0.96% lower and the property sector dipped 1.17%.

** Continued Sino-U.S. tension also weighed on sentiment. The Trump administration published a list of Chinese and Russian companies with alleged military ties that restrict them from buying a wide range of U.S. goods and technology.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.48%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.04%.

** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, which was down 5.35%, Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd, which fell 3.39% and PetroChina Co Ltd, down 2.5%.

Reporting by Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; editing by Uttaresh.V

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