China Stock Turmoil 2015

Mainland China stocks surge to week high on economic news, as Hong Kong drifts

Hang Seng benchmark down 1.7 per cent in mid-morning trade

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 December, 2015, 9:36am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 December, 2015, 5:29pm

Mainland stocks surged to a week-high on Monday on the back of positive news in the Chinese economy, but Hong Kong stocks couldn’t keep up, slumping slightly by the closing bell.

It came as stocks linked to missing Fosun chairman Guo Guangchang finished the day with heavy losses, despite the news Guo had been returned earlier on Monday.

The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 2.52 per cent, to finish at 3,521.12, while the CSI300 surged 2.86 per cent to end at 3,711.32.

“Some macro figures were better than expected,” said Ivan Li, equities analyst at Tung Shing Securities.

The late afternoon jump in Shanghai and Shenzhen share markets also came off the back of a jump in financial shares, brokers in particular, which an analyst attributed to markets realising their underlying strength.

“[They] are now focusing on the strengths of the underlying business that will likely benefit from the resumption of new IPOs,” Gerry Alfonso of Shenwan Hongyuan Securities in Shanghai said.

CITIC Securities stocks surged more than nine per cent to US$19.47 on Monday afternoon, joined by multiple other brokerages including Haitong Securities which jumped almost 7.5 per cent to US$16.29.

The Shenzhen Composite Index also surged off the back of the rise in financial stocks, jumping by two per cent, to 2,239.68, while Chinext rose by 1.42 per cent to 2,709.26.

Among the positive Chinese economic data was large growth in factory output, up 6.2 per cent in November, and fixed-asset investment which grew 10.2 per cent in the first 11 months of 2015.

But while mainland markets surged, Hong Kong stocks failed to recover from a significant opening drop back off plunging Fosun International shares and uncertainty over Wednesday’s US Federal Reserve interest rates announcement.

The Hang Seng Index was down slightly at the close, falling 0.72 per cent to 21,309.85.

“I think it’s very crucial for the market whether it will have a sustainable rebound on the Federal Reserve decision and see if the after meeting statement can comfort the market,” KGI Asia executive director Ben Kwong said. “Most investors are waiting for this I think.”

Fed chair Janet Yellen is due to deliver a statement and a briefing with reporters after announcing their decision on rates.

In the currency markets, the yuan weakened again after the People’s Bank of China set the daily reference rate around which the onshore yuan can trade up or down two per cent at a new 4-1/2 low of 6.4495 per US dollar.

Adding to Hong Kong’s woes, Fosun International shares plunged from the start and failed to recover over the course of the day, after news last week that their chairman Guo Guangcheng went missing for a day and a half.

Although Guo was back to work on Monday, Fosun shares still closed down 9.6 per cent to US$12.06.

Shares in Hong Kong listed China COSCO sank 23.68 per cent to HK$3.77 after the Chinese government announced plans to merge it with China Shipping Group to create the world’s fourth largest container line.

The merger would save costs in a sector that’s struggled since the global financial crisis with slowing trade and over capacity, with the consolidation also forming part of the central government reform of the burdensome state owned enterprise sector.

Among the biggest movers by turnover, Tencent fell 0.88 per cent to HK$146.3, AIA dropped 1.61 per cent to HK$45.85 and Ping An gained 0.85 per cent to HK$41.30.

Alibaba Group Holdings has agreed to purchase the South China Morning Post and other media assets for HK$2.06 billion, according to an SCMP Group filing posted Monday on the website of the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, which detailed the price of the acquisition for the first time.

Shares in SCMP Group, the media group owned by Robert Kuok, have been suspended since 2013 after its publicly traded shares fell below the minimum 25 per cent requirement.