HONG KONG: Hong Kong stocks fell on Friday, tracking global peers, as mounting geopolitical worries along with hawkish pushback by some US Federal Reserve officials weighed on risk sentiment in a cautious end to the week.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dipped 0.68%, after sliding as much as 1.5% in early trading. Still, the index is on course to eke out a small gain for the week.

Mainland China’s financial markets are closed for a public holiday on Friday.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.7% as risk aversion permeated the market ahead of US jobs data due later in the day.

US Fed officials, including Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, doused expectations that rate cuts were likely on the horizon as, they endorsed a careful approach to monetary easing.

Investor sentiment was also hit by escalating tensions in the Middle East, with Israel bracing on Thursday for the possibility of a retaliatory attack after its suspected killing of Iranian generals in Damascus this week.

The threat of supply disruptions owing to a prolonged conflict in the Middle East has pushed oil prices higher.


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