Hong Kong stocks close slightly lower while Shanghai advances, in sign regional investors have ‘digested’ Brexit concerns
The Hang Seng Index ends 0.16 per cent lower; Shanghai Composite Index advances 1.45 per cent
Hong Kong’s stock market on Monday ended marginally lower, paring sharper losses earlier in the session, in a sign that stocks are beginning to find support at current levels as investors have digested the Brexit factor.
Analysts also believe the market may be deriving support from expectations of a pending announcement of the Shenzhen Hong Kong Stock Connect launch.
The Hang Seng Index ended at 20,227.3, down 0.16 per cent or 31.83 points from Friday’s close, recovering from a weak opening that saw the benchmark down as much as 276.47 points.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index closed at 8,567.21, up 0.44 per cent or 37.11 points, reversing from an opening loss of as much as 129.63 points.
Shares of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing rose 0.93 per cent to HK$ 184.40, boosted by expectations of a Shenzhen stock connect announcement, possibly as early as this week.
Among local retailers, Sa Sa International jumped 8.8 per cent to HK$3.09, Chow Sang Sang Holdings added 2.39 per cent to HK$12.86, and Oriental Watch Holdings increased 2.22 per cent to HK$ 0.92.
CK Hutchison Holdings continued to be the one of the worst performing blue chips. Its shares slid 4.02 per cent to HK$83.5, as investors worry the Brexit will hurt both Britain and the EU where CK’s business is exposed.
In a note on Monday, rating agency Moody’s said CK Hutchison will be negatively affected by the Brexit, but maintained its A3 rating and “stable” outlook on the firm.
“We see the recent decline in the [CK] share price may be a knee jerk reaction to Brexit,” Jefferies Hong Kong said in a report, maintaining its “Buy” recommendation.
London-based HSBC shares dipped 1.69 per cent to HK$46.65 while Standard Chartered shares lost 1.04 per cent to HK$57.15.
Louis Tse Ming-kwong, director at VC Brokerage, said investors overreacted on Friday as Britain’s vote in favour of leaving the European Union was a big surprise. The Hang Seng Index on Friday hit a slippery slope to lose 1,200 points at one stage, but recovered in the afternoon to end 2.9 per cent or 609.21 points lower at 20,259.13. UK-exposed stocks suffered the most, including HSBC, Standard Chartered and CK Hutchison Holdings.
Tse said the Hang Seng Index is likely to find support at current levels. “Some investors may even close their short positions on expectations that the Shenzhen Hong Kong Stock Connect might be launched soon,” he said.
As institutions are approaching the settlement date for the first half of this year, and as the impact of Brexit is still uncertain, more investors will adopt a “wait and see” attitude, Tse said.
Hanna Li Wai-han, a strategist at UOB Kay Hian (Hong Kong) said the Hong Kong stock market gained support from expectation that the Shenzhen Hong Kong Stock Connect will announce its launch soon.
“We may see Hong Kong stocks gain this week because investors expect there are some detailed announcements about the Shenzhen Connect on July 1,” said Li. “However, I do not think there will be continuous growth momentum after the possible link announcement .”
Li said the investment sentiment towards Hong Kong stocks is likely to remain weak in the second half of the year.
The Chinese mainland stock markets remained unscathed from the global financial turmoil. The Shanghai Composite Index closed Monday at 2,895.70, up 1.45 per cent or 41.42 points, while the CSI 300 Index, which tracks large companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, inched up 1.41 per cent to 3,120.54.
Li said the negative impact of Brexit to China’s exporting industry has not been reflected. “China cannot escape the hit when the commodity and global markets are going to be weak because of Brexit.”
White liquor maker Kweichow Moutai Co jumped 6.06 per cent to an all-time high of 290.35 yuan.
Global stocks witnessed a panic sell off on Friday as Britons voted in favour of leaving the European Union, adding to regional and global economic uncertainty.
The Hang Seng Index on Friday hit a slippery slope to lose 1,200 points at one stage, but recovered in the afternoon to end 2.9 per cent or 609.21 points lower at 20,259.13. UK-exposed stocks suffered the most, including HSBC, Standard Chartered and CK Hutchison Holdings.
The major US indexes all plunged overnight on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average Index fell 3.39 per cent or 610.32 points to close at 17,400.75, retreating to the level at the start of the year. All its 30 constituent stocks fell, led by the financial sector including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs.
The S&P 500 closed 3.59 per cent lower at 2,037.41 and Nasdaq suffered its biggest intraday loss since mid-2011, down 4.12 per cent to close at 4,707.98.
London FTSE100 was down 3.15 per cent to close at 6,138.69, with the British pound sliding to US$1.35 per pound, the lowest level in 31 years. European stocks suffered a heavier blow. The Germany’s DAX slumped 6.82 per cent to 9,557.16 with the CAC in France tumbling 8.04 per cent to 4,106.73.
Gold and gold-related stocks were winners in the market amid the risk-averse sentiment, with spot gold at one point on Friday gaining 8.1 per cent to US$1,358.54 an ounce, the biggest advance since September 2008. The price level was also the strongest in more than two years.
Some Britons have called for a second referendum on Brexit after the vote result triggered a global stock market crash and prompted the resignation of its prime minister David Cameron. A petition supporting a second referendum has received three million signatures.
On Monday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose to 15,241.93, up 289.91 points or 1.94 per cent while Korean stocks fell 0.19 per cent to 1,921.57.
Hong Kong stocks’ American Depository Receipts (ADRs) dipped in the US market after the Hong Kong market closed on Friday. After conversion into Hong Kong dollars, China Life ADRs lost 1.79 per cent to HK$16.18 and Sinopec Corporation lost 1.4 per cent to HK$5.22. But HSBC ADRs performed better in the United States, closing at HK$47.75, or 0.63 per cent higher than its Hong Kong close.