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Hong Kong stocks close lower on Europe lockdowns, lira plunge

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 6.9%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 1.9%

* HSI -0.4%, HSCE +0.2%, CSI300 +1.0%

* FTSE China A50 +0.6%

March 22 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks closed lower on Monday, as fears of prolonged lockdowns in some European countries dampened recovery hopes while a plunge in the Turkish lira also hit investor sentiment.

** The Hang Seng index fell 0.4%, to 28,885.34, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.2%, to 11,306.71.

** Germany plans to extend a lockdown to contain COVID-19 infections into a fifth month, according to a draft proposal, after new cases exceeded levels authorities say will cause hospitals to be overstretched.

** Confidence in the safety of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has taken a big hit in Spain, Germany, France and Italy as reports of rare blood clots have been linked to it and many countries briefly stopped using it, poll data showed.

** Adding to the pressure was a slump in Turkey’s lira.

** The lira plunged 15% to near its all-time low after markets opened following President Tayyip Erdogan’s shock weekend decision to oust a hawkish central bank governor and install a like-minded critic of high interest rates.

** Analysts remain optimistic about Hong Kong stocks going ahead, citing low valuations.

** The PE ratios of the Hang Seng index and the Hang Seng China Enterprises index remain far lower than that of the S&P 500, making them more attractive to allocate, CITIC Hong Kong analyst said in a note, recommending internet leaders and banking stocks with high dividends.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.21%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 2.07%.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.51 per U.S. dollar at 0829 GMT, flat compared to the previous close of 6.5097.

** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 33.46% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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