Hong Kong shares close at lowest level this year

Hong Kong's benchmark share index fell for a fifth day and ended at its lowest level in eight months on Thursday, pulled down by sluggish global markets and pessimism over China's economy.

The Hang Seng index fell 1.8 per cent, to 22,757.47, while the China Enterprises Index, which tracks big Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong, lost 2.3 per cent, to 10,402.72 points.

Thursday's close was the lowest for the Hang Seng Index since Dec. 18.

China Investment Securities expected the market to trend lower, citing global economic uncertainty and capital flight from emerging markets.

Most sectors in Hong Kong fell, with energy and consumer goods leading the declines.

But an index tracking telecommunication stocks rose, led by China Telecom and China Unicom, on renewed talk of a possible merger.

Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment slumped 6 per cent to its lowest level since March 2013, after Galaxy reported lacklustre second-quarter earnings.

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific fell 3.3 per cent, following a downgrade by Credit Suisse.