Macau plays and lagging red chips benefit as an end to the uncertainty frees funds for other investments Hong Kong's stock market caught everyone by surprise yesterday as the benchmark index soared more than 200 points despite the Housing Authority's decision to shelve the listing of its public housing estate assets. The Hang Seng Index jumped 221.6 points or 1.58 per cent to 14,214.04 after hovering near the 14,000 level in early trade. The H-share index rose 29.62 points or 0.62 per cent to 4,808.48. Trading was brisk with $22.58 billion worth of shares changing hands. Many had been expecting the market would be under pressure after the collapse of the Link Reit listing, originally scheduled for yesterday, was called off on Sunday night. The government said the listing would be re-launched after all legal impediments were removed. 'With the refund cheques for allocated shares, investors had more money and therefore were more willing to buy,' UOB Kay Hian director Steven Leung Wai-yuen said. 'Also, the market had more or less expected a postponement, so the decision [to delay the listing] did clear the market overhang,' Mr Leung said. Some believed 'window dressing' by fund managers caused the surge. 'Many regional hedge funds have registered just single-digit returns this year. They would certainly like to boost the share prices,' one broker said. He added that many hedge funds this year had bet on the wrong side of the market in the face of numerous unpredictable factors such as oil prices, a rate increase in the mainland and the weakened US dollar. The lagging red chips were among the shares investors chased, with Cosco Pacific soaring 5.57 per cent to $15.15, China Merchants Holdings gaining 4.91 per cent to $13.90 and China Resources rising 3.48 per cent to $11.90. Macau-related shares continued to shine yesterday - after President Hu Jintao hailed the gambling enclave as an economic and political success story on the fifth anniversary of its handover. Some brokers said investment bankers had recently started pitching Hong Kong-listed Macau plays to United States investors, following the high prices fetched on the New York Stock Exchange by the newly listed Las Vegas Sands Corp. Melco International soared 20.7 per cent to $18.90 while Shun Tak gained 7.5 per cent to $8.60. Medtech Group leapt 42.11 per cent to 54 cents after the watchmaker unveiled its plans to tap the burgeoning gambling market in Macau. The company, to be renamed Golden Resorts Group, last week raised $510 million through a top-up placement of 1.5 billion shares at 34 cents each to fund a $500 million acquisition of the 407-room Grandview Hotel in Taipa and an attached casino from Stanley Ho Hung-sun and his associates. A-Max rallied 30.3 per cent to $2.90. The company had expressed interest in acquiring a stake in entertainment firm Greek Mythology Entertainment, also the developer of Greek Mythology Casino at the New Century Hotel in Taipa. Two gaming floors with 228 gaming tables are scheduled to open on Thursday. Hutchison Whampoa rose 1.43 per cent to $71. Company management has been upbeat on its 3G business in Hong Kong but analysts are concerned about intensifying competition in the market after SmarTone and CSL launched their 3G services. 'We believe [the] launch [from SmarTone] is the beginning of a challenging period for the Hong Kong wireless market as this second 3G launch could trigger an aggressive competitive response from the other players,' Citigroup Global Markets analyst Rohit Sobti wrote in a report. Investors were also lured by oil plays following a recent rally in crude prices, with CNOOC gaining 1.75 per cent to $4.35 and PetroChina rising 0.6 per cent to $4.225.