Bouts of profit-taking dragged shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai into negative ground by the midday break on Friday as punters grabbed cash ahead of the weekend, booking their profits after markets sprang to seven year highs earlier this week. The Hang Seng Index fell 0.69 per cent or 191.75 points to 27,635.95 points by Friday noon, reversing the modest gains it rang up earlier in the session. The Hang Seng H-shares Index fell by a sharper 2.02 per cent or 292.33 points to 14,185.87 points on Friday, likewise reversing a similar rise in morning trade. At the 11.30 AM close on Friday, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.76 per cent to 4,336.76 points, as investors there also opted to book their profits. “Both the Hong Kong and Shanghai markets are overbought. The A-share market is under profit-taking pressure,” said Ben Kwong Man-bun, a director of KGI Asia. Despite the fall on Friday, the Hang Seng is on track to post an over 600-point gain from last Friday’s close while Shanghai is poised for a 150 point increase from its close of last Friday. The Hong Kong stockmarket turnover at the midday close on Friday was HK$88.19 billion, below the HK$103.05 billion seen on Wednesday at the same time. The southbound turnover of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect was HK$4.22 billion and the northbound turnover was 4.51 billion yuan. “Most heavyweight index stocks have risen to a high level already, so they don’t have room to grow much further,” said Kwong, citing Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) as an example. HKEX was the most heavily traded stock in Hong Kong, dropping 2.5 per cent to HK$289.40 on Friday noon, after rising steadily since Monday. Hong Kong investors prefer to be cautious ahead of a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee of the US Federal Reserve on April 28 and 29, because that meeting may affect timing of a likely increase of US interest rates, to which Hong Kong interest rates are tied, Kwong explained. Hong Kong and mainland investors were also fretting whether Beijing would release any news on policies that could negatively impact the stock markets in the next few days, Kwong added. The market gave scant attention to news that the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index ended at a record 5,056.06 points on Thursday, finally breaking a record which has stood since 2000 at the peak of the dotcom boom. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.1 per cent to 18,058.69 points. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.60 per cent or 121.13 points to 20,066.52 points on Friday, after rising above 20,000 on Wednesday, its highest level since March 2000.