Fresh surge in crude prices fuels rally in oil stocks Hang Seng Index gains 67 points with global bank HSBC rebounding before its interim results next week Oil stocks powered Hong Kong share prices to a fresh four-year high yesterday, as crude prices surged on renewed supply concerns and mainland oil giant CNOOC said it would not raise its bid for Californian-based energy company Unocal. The blue-chip Hang Seng Index closed 67.66 points or 0.46 per cent higher at 14,880.98, with shares worth $19.3 billion changing hands compared with $23.55 billion on Thursday. Crude oil for September delivery in New York gained 0.76 per cent to US$60.40 a barrel, the highest since July 13, as markets fretted that current supply levels would not satisfy strong summer demand. CNOOC, China's third-largest oil company, jumped 6 per cent to a record high of $5.30, contributing more than half the gains in the benchmark index. The shares were bid higher after state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that the company had no plans to raise its US$18.5 billion bid for Unocal. 'Not raising the bidding price for Unocal is definitely good news for CNOOC, as investors were concerned that it was offering too much,' Tung Tai Securities associate director Kenny Tang Sing-hing said. PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, surged 2.96 per cent to a record high of $6.95 on turnover of $1.06 billion, making the counter the second most actively traded after global banking giant HSBC, which unveils its interim results on Monday. PetroChina reached an intraday high of $7.05. The gain was also helped by market rumours that it might buy back oilfield assets from CNPC (Hong Kong) through an asset swap. A PetroChina spokesman denied that there was any such plan. CNPC (Hong Kong), meanwhile, surged 2.81 per cent to $1.46, lifting its gains for the week to 15.8 per cent, while Sinopec rose 1.5 per cent to $3.375. The H-share index added 69.07 points or 1.33 per cent to end at 5,263.41, mainly driven by PetroChina and Sinopec. Property stocks saw a mixed performance. Sino Land was up 1.65 per cent at $9.20, Hang Lung Properties rose 0.81 per cent to $12.35, New World Development added 0.48 per cent to $10.40, and Sun Hung Kai Properties edged up 0.18 per cent to $80.15. Cheung Kong, however, slipped 0.17 per cent to $83.85, and Henderson Land dropped 0.25 per cent to $39.30. Wong Kwok-ying, a fund manager at Shenyin Wanguo Asset Management, said most blue chips performed better than expected despite important data due out next week including HSBC's results and United States second-quarter gross domestic product. 'This suggests there is strong support for the benchmark index,' he added. HSBC edged up 0.15 per cent to $126.40 after two consecutive days of losses. Hang Seng Bank was up 0.18 per cent to $107.50. But Bank of East Asia, which will announce its interim result next Wednesday, fell 0.21 per cent to $23.65. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing announced yesterday that it had accepted 68 new listing applications this year. Forty-three of them have won in-principle approval from the listing committee.