The stock market in Hong Kong is trading in negative territory on Thursday morning, giving up all the gains in initial trading after mainland China reported a contraction in economic activity during first quarter of 2009. The GDP for the first quarter declined to 6.1% from 6.8% reported for the fourth quarter of 2008. The Hong Kong market opened strongly on Wall Street cues, where the major indices gained amid choppy trading, following the release of a mixed bag of economic reports as well as earnings news. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book report showed a continued economic contraction in many parts of the country, although it signaled that the contraction is slowing down.

On Wednesday, The Nasdaq ended the session up 1.08 points or 0.1% at 1,627, while the Dow jumped 109.44 points or 1.4% to 8,030 and the S&P 500 closed up 10.56 points or 1.3% at 852.

In Asian trading, crude oil is currently up $0.92 at $50.17 a barrel in electronic trading. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed down $0.16 at $49.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday after an Energy Information Administration data revealed commercial crude oil inventories increased for a 25th time in 29 weeks by 5.6 million barrels to 366.7 million barrels in the week ended April 10, 2009.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened higher at 15,929, compared to its previous close of 15,670 and is presently trading at 15,616, down 53.54 points, or 0.34%. China-related shares led the declines following the release of China's GDP for first quarter.

China Resources is losing 2.50%, China Overseas is down 2.03%, China Mercantile Holdings is falling 1.34%, and China Shenhua is declining 2.18%.

Mixed trading is being witnessed among resource stocks. While Aluminum Corporation of China, or CHALCO, is rising 2.74%, CNOOC is losing 2.54% and PetroChina is edging down 0.57%.

Among banks, HSBC Holdings is gaining 0.64% and Hang Seng Bank is edging up 0.17%. However, Bank of Communications is falling 0.16%, Bank of China is down 0.68% and Bank of East Asia is slipping 0.83%.

Insurance stocks are trading weak. Ping An is down 0.95% and China Life is easing 0.89%.

Among the gainers, apparel chain store Espirit Holdings is gaining 3.28% and toy maker Li & Fung is advancing 1.70%.

Mixed trading is being witnessed among the property stocks. While Henderson Land is gaining 0.29% and SHK Properties is edging up 0.24%, Wharf Holdings is losing 0.89%, New World Development is falling 1.15% and Hang Lung Property is declining 3.04%.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com