Shares prices closed lower in cautious trade, with Wall Street's overnight performance seen as a mere short-term rebound rather than indicating a genuine improvement in sentiment, dealers said.
They said most investors continued to adopt a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the release of the interim results by PCCW and China Unicom, noting that the benchmark index will be under strong pressure if the results turn out to be weaker than expected.
The Hang Seng index closed the morning down 34.01 points or 0.35% at 9,786.32, off a high of 9,833.68 and a low of 9,744.71, on turnover of 2.432 billion hkd.
The Hang Seng September contract was at 9,798 points.
The China Enterprises index was down 1.78 points at 1,936.17, while the CAC index was 2.12 points lower at 1,074.19.
The GEM index was down 0.33 points at 136.72 on turnover of 39.98 million hkd.
Alan Kei, vice president of Taiwan Securities, said the technical rebound on Wall Street was seen as unconvincing, adding that sentiment is still weak in the global stock markets.
"The local bourse cannot follow the rebound on Wall Street last night. Sentiment was weak and investors were not confident to enter the market and trading volume was very thin," he said.
He said market sentiment will deteriorate further if the Hang Seng Index drops below a major psychological level of 9,600 points.
Kei said many investors were also sidelined prior to the release of the interim results from China Unicom and PCCW later today.
PCCW closed the morning up 0.02 hkd at 1.31, while China Unicom was 0.05 lower at 5.35.
Elsewhere in the telecom sector, China Mobile was down 0.10 at 20.45 and Hutchison lost 0.50 to 51.40.
In the property sector, Cheung Kong was 0.25 lower at 56.00 and Sun Hung Kai Properties flat at 50.25, while Henderson Land lost 0.15 to 25.70 and New World Development was down 0.05 at 5.05.
HSBC was down 0.50 at 85.50, while Hang Seng Bank added 0.25 at 83.75, Bank of East Asia lost 0.05 to 14.45 and BOC Hong Kong gained 0.05 to 8.40.
Among H-shares, Sinopec was unchanged at 1.21, China Southern Airlines down 0.025 at 2.30 and China Eastern unchanged at 1.04.
Among red chips, Legend was up 0.05 at 2.90, while Stone Electronic was 0.005 higher at 0.475 and CNOOC was up 0.05 at 10.50.
On the GEM board, tom.com was flat at 2.425, while CK Life Sciences dropped 0.03 to 1.78 and hongkong.com was flat at 0.186.
Elsewhere, China Resources was down 0.05 at 8.40 and TVB fell 0.65 to 24.55 after the release of their financial results yesterday.
Long Far Pharmaceutical was at 0.355 against the IPO price of 0.34 on its trading debut.
Hong Kong & China Gas was up 0.05 at 10.50 ahead of its first half results.