Hong Kong stocks retreat from two-year high as StanChart slides
Hong Kong stocks closed lower on Thursday, retreating from Wednesday’s 26-month high, as Standard Chartered Bank fell for a second day amid a mixed performance by financials.
The Hang Seng Index closed down 0.3 per cent, or 76.37 points, to 27,531.01, while turnover was HK$85.54 billion (US$10.94 billion). The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, known as the H-share index, slipped 0.5 per cent, or 53.22 points, to 11,002.2
Hong Kong stocks have advanced for three consecutive days this week as strong earnings expectations pushed up several large cap blue-chip stocks.
“The market has been very strong for the past few days. People are hesitating but they are not willing to push it lower because they are still waiting for opportunities to buy,” said Alex Wong, a director at Ample Finance Group.
Financials were mixed on Thursday, with Standard Chartered Bank losing 8.1 per cent to HK$80.90, dropping for a second consecutive day. The bank disappointed investors on Wednesday by not announcing a dividend with its 2017 interim results, despite boosting underlying pre-tax profits by 93 per cent. BOC Hong Kong fell 1.5 per cent to HK$39.25 and HSBC slipped 0.4 per cent to HK$78.25.
However mainland Chinese banks gained, with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China up 1.3 per cent to HK$5.62 and China Construction Bank adding 0.5 per cent to HK$6.59.
Technology giant Tencent, which saw the biggest turnover, retreated from Wednesday’s record, down 1.3 per cent to HK$308.60. Chinese internet firm Meituan-Dianping is in talks with prospective investors to raise up to US$5 billion, of which about US$1 billion will be an additional investment from Tencent, Reuters quoted an unnamed person with direct knowledge of the matter as saying.
Separately, China Unicom bucked the declines, rallying 2.29 per cent to HK$11.64. State media reported on Wednesday that tech giants Alibaba and Tencent want stakes in the state-owned mobile carrier, the second-largest in China by number of subscribers. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
On the mainland, the CSI 300 fell 0.9 per cent to 3,727.83 while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.4 per cent to 3,272.93 and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Component Index lost 0.3 per cent to 10,436.17. However the Nasdaq style ChiNext rose 0.5 per cent to 1,733.12.
In the US overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above the 22,000 mark for the first time buoyed by Apple’s robust quarterly iPhone sales, while weakness in other technology stocks held back the Nasdaq and S&P 500.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.24 per cent to finish at 22,016.24, a record high. The S&P 500 gained 0.05 per cent to 2,477.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was flat at 6,362.65.