PetroChina climbs to post-listing high after US$59 per barrel level breached High global crude oil prices saw shares in China's largest oil producer, PetroChina, surge to a record yesterday amid an otherwise lacklustre market. PetroChina climbed 3.7 per cent to $5.55 - its highest since listing in Hong Kong in April 2000 - after crude oil futures hit a historical high of US$59 a barrel in Asia yesterday morning. The news was also positive for CNOOC, the nation's largest offshore oil company, which advanced 1.2 per cent to $4.225 to become the biggest blue-chip gainer of the day. Gideon Lo, an analyst at DBS Vickers, expects the oil sector to outperform the market in the next three to six months on a continuous surge in crude prices. He said investors were more willing to put money into the oil industry than other mainland stocks. 'Oil is probably the only sector in China which is unaffected by the government's macroeconomic control measures as it's an international commodity,' Mr Lo said. Sinopec, the country's second-largest oil company, however, ended flat at $2.925. Analysts said investors were becoming concerned about the earnings outlook of the country's largest oil refiner as 60 per cent of Sinopec's crude is imported. The gains in oil stocks, however, did not help the benchmark Hang Seng Index much. The index edged up 33.74 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 13,945.77 after trading between 13,908.7 and 13,966.91. Turnover decreased to $14.82 billion from $17.64 billion in last Friday's session. Hang Seng Index July futures ended 20 points, or 0.14 per cent, higher at 13,988. 'The upside was marginal and didn't have much implication as the turnover was quite low [yesterday],' said Marvin Pang, the head of institutional sales at Core Pacific-Yamaichi. Mr Pang added that investors stayed on the sidelines as a lot of capital - $153 billion - was being tied-up by the Bank of Communications (Bocom) initial public offering. The retail tranche of the offer was 205 times oversubscribed when the book closed last week. The money will not be refunded until Thursday, when Bocom makes its trading debut. Kingston Lin, an associate director at Prudential Brokerage, expects a 10 per cent rise in Bocom shares on its first day in view of the tremendous demand from retail and institutional investors - the institutional tranche was about 20 times booked. Of the 33 Hang Seng Index constituents, 14 rose, 10 fell and nine were unchanged yesterday. Bank of China (Hong Kong)'s lifting of mortgage interest rates by 25 basis points did not have much impact on property stocks. Cheung Kong rose 0.69 per cent to $73.25, Sun Hung Kai Properties was unchanged at $74 and Henderson Land edged down 0.28 per cent to $35.40. Banks generally performed better. BOC itself rose 0.35 per cent to $14.45. Bank of East Asia gained 0.66 per cent to $22.85 and Hang Seng Bank advanced 0.48 per cent to $105.50. China's second-largest mobile operator, China Unicom, was the biggest blue-chip decliner yesterday, dropping 0.79 per cent to $6.30, despite reporting May subscriber figures that were in line with market expectations. Unicom said post-paid GSM subscribers increased in number by 1.1 per cent last month, compared with April, to 45 million, pre-paid users grew 0.9 per cent to 43.8 million and CDMA customers increased 1.8 per cent to 30.5 million. Macquarie Research said the figures showed 'no significant change in trend' and it maintained its neutral rating on the stock, with a 12-month target price of $6. It added that Unicom was destroying value due to 'high marketing and CDMA capacity costs'. However, industry restructuring potential gives the stock some downside protection, if only because upside is so highly leveraged to positive structural change. Rival China Mobile, the country's largest mobile network operator, inched up 0.18 per cent to settle at $28.60. Of Hang Seng Index's four sub-indices, the utilities sector was the only decliner, dragged down by the two electricity companies, CLP and Hongkong Electric. CLP lost 0.45 per cent to $44.50 while Hongkong Electric slipped 0.28 per cent to $35.10.