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Hong Kong stocks ended flat, with September inflation data coming in as expected early on Monday, two days after better than expected export data, leaving many investors sidelined ahead of key third-quarter GDP growth data due out on Thursday.
China’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) grew 1.9 per cent year on year in September, in line with market forecasts, and down on August's inflation level. The producer price index (PPI), which measures inflation at wholesale level, dropped 3.6 per cent year-on-year in September.
“Inflation is unlikely to rebound much in the fourth quarter, which leaves more room for policymakers to conduct more easing,” said Liao Qun, an economist with CITIC Bank International.
If China’s third-quarter economic growth is below 7.4 per cent, authorities would announce either an interest rate cut or a relaxation in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) in the very near future, Citic Bank International’s Liao said.
Investors were cautious ahead of Thursday's GDP data.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 11.82 points, or 0.06 per cent to close at 21,148.25. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index gained 30.04 points, or 0.29 per cent to finish at 10,375.32.
Funds flowed into local property developers stocks on bargain hunting after days of consolidation in the sector. Sun Hung Kai Properties (0016.HK) added 0.74 per cent to close at HK$109.00 while Cheung Kong Holdings (0001.HK) added 0.35 per cent to finish at HK$113.60.
China’s exports grew more than expected in September, with overseas shipments up 9.9 per cent from a year earlier, official data showed on Saturday.
ZTE (0763.HK), China’s No.2 maker of telecom equipment, dived after the company said it expects to incur a net loss of 1.9 billion yuan to 2 billion yuan for the three months to September 30. The stock lost 15.8 per cent to finish at HK$10.56.
It will be its first quarterly loss in at least a decade. ZTE made net profit of 299 million yuan in the same quarter last year.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch maintained its "buy" rating on the stock and target price unchanged at HK$13.9 after the profit warning, saying this could be the “bottom” of the company’s earning results and performance should be improve in the coming quarter.
UBS analyst Wang Jinjin also maintained its target price for the stock at HK$18.00 and rating unchanged at “Buy”.
“We believe the significant margin slump in Q3 was one-off but it could still take a few quarters for the company to bring the margin levels back to the normalized level,” according to a UBS note to its client.
Xiamen International Port Company (3378.HK) gained 8.64 per cent to close at HK$0.88. The firm, which operates the mainland port closest to Taiwan, said it had reached an agreement with municipal government-owned Xiamen Land Development Center in which Xiamen Land Development Center will offer 1.1 billion yuan for two plots of land and will also compensate for relocation costs.
KFM Kingdom Holdings (3816.HK), the metal engineering solution provider, gained one cent to close at HK$0.69 on its first day of trading on the main board. Its IPO share price was fixed at HK$0.68 apiece.