Hong Kong stocks fell, with the city��s benchmark index retreating from a five-month high, as escalating violence in Iraq drove up crude prices.

The Hang Seng Index slid 0.3 percent to 23,258.50 as of 9:30 a.m. in Hong Kong, with about four shares falling for each that rose. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, also known as the H-share index, lost 0.3 percent to 10,491.07.

Futures on the Standard & Poor��s 500 Index fell 0.4 percent. U.S. stocks slid last week as lower estimates for global growth and the threat of civil war in Iraq halted a three-week rally that had sent equity indexes to all-time highs.

West Texas Intermediate oil rose for a fourth day today as strife in Iraq threatened to disrupt supplies from OPEC��s second-largest producer. The nation said its army killed more than 279 rebels yesterday as the prospect of civil war in the Persian Gulf nation intensifies with Sunni Muslim insurgents controlling territory north of Baghdad. In Ukraine, tensions escalated at the weekend with 49 servicemen killed when pro-Russia fighters shot down a plane.

Hong Kong��s benchmark index rebounded 10 percent since falling to an eight-month low in March, as China introduced stimulus including reserve-ratio cuts for some lenders to counter an economic slowdown. The equity gauge traded at 10.8 times estimated earnings at the last close, compared with 16.4 for the S&P 500.

Source : Bloomberg