Property stocks were instrumental in pushing the Hang Seng Index to a more than four-year high yesterday, while profit-taking on PetroChina left the H-share index down on the day.
The Hang Seng Index rose 184.24 points, or 1.29 per cent, to 14,491.54 points, its highest close since February 28, 2001, when it hit 14,787.87. It closed near its intra-day high of 14,497.43, which, like the surge in turnover to $27.93 billion from $21.98 billion the previous day, was seen as a bullish signal.
Cheung Kong and Hutchison accounted for 18 per cent of the upside on the Hang Seng Index and will 'continue to lead the market rally in July', according to a Dao Heng Securities research note.
The brokerage said its year-end target for the index was 15,000, while ICEA Securities said in a note to clients that its fair value estimate for the blue-chip index remains 15,000 to 15,300 points.
Cheung Kong yesterday rose another 2.8 per cent to $80.75, extending the rally after reaching a 31/2-year high on Wednesday. Hutchison gained 1.83 per cent to $75.15.
Cheung Kong was also the growth driver for the Hang Seng Properties sub-index, which rose 419.41 points, or 2.34 per cent, to 17,905.47, and was the biggest gainer among the four sub-indices. Cheung Kong accounted for more than 40 per cent of the gains.
Sino Land was the second best-performing blue chip in percentage terms and surged 5.39 per cent to $8.80. Sun Hung Kai Properties ended 2.27 per cent higher at $78.90 and Henderson Land Development added 1.74 per cent to $38. Hang Lung Properties, however, lost 0.84 per cent to $11.80.
Second-tier property investor Great Eagle rose 3.65 per cent to $21.30 after Macquarie Research said in report that the company had sold the entire 55th floor of its office tower for $175 million - equivalent to $10,059 per square foot.
PCCW was the biggest blue-chip decliner of the day, falling 1.96 per cent to $5 after it raised US$500 million by selling 10-year bonds.
Cathay Pacific Airways rose 0.7 per cent to $14.30 after reporting an 11.5 per cent rise in passenger traffic last month and an 11.4 per cent increase in cargo handled. Macquarie Research rated the company 'outperform' and set the target price at $17.
HSBC, which accounts for about 33 per cent of the Hang Seng Index weighting, rose a modest 0.64 per cent to $125.80 yesterday, while Hang Seng Bank was up 0.67 per cent to $105.60.
H shares were mixed, although the 0.81 per cent drop in PetroChina to $6.15 pulled the sector index 0.47 per cent lower to 4,890.88.
PICC Property & Casualty led the decliners with a 4.79 per cent drop to $1.79, while ZTE, which provides mobile communication systems, was the top performer with a 5.99 per cent gain to $23.90.
Outside the main index, H share machinery manufacturers Dongfang Electrical Machinery and Harbin Power Equipment both hit new record highs, indicating that investors are focusing hard on individual stocks rather than the index, said Herbert Lau, chief investment officer at CASH Asset Management.
Dongfang added 5.62 per cent to $8.45 and Harbin Power rose 3.28 per cent to $3.15.
Meanwhile, a fifth consecutive day of gains on Nasdaq and stronger-than-expected earnings from chip maker Advanced Micro Devices and Apple Computer sparked continued buying interest in technology stocks.
Semiconductor Manufacturing International jumped 4.14 per cent to $1.76 and Lenovo rallied 6.32 per cent $2.525.
In its trading debut, Shinhint Acoustic finished 1.25 per cent, or one cent, above its initial public offering price of 80 cents after reversing a lower opening at 77 cents.
Guangzhou R&F Properties rose 3.24 per cent, or 35 cents, above its IPO price of $10.80. Home equipment maker 'Alltronics, which tapped the market for $80 million, is set to start trading today.