Week in Review

THE week saw the busiest reporting schedule for the year among the territory's blue-chip heavyweight stocks as well as the decision by Jardine Matheson to de-list from the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, while banks were forced to raise interest rates.

Monday Red-chip CITIC Pacific kicked off the reporting week with a leap in net profits to $1.88 billion, up 81 per cent on the year. The improvement, in line with expectations compared with Hongkong Land which posted a marginal profit increase to US$306.5 million.

Elsewhere the great stock market sell-off began to run out of steam as global equity strategists suggested the Hang Seng had been oversold.Tuesday Mandarin Hotels, the second of the Jardines stable to report, announced a profits increase of just 1.24 per cent to US$40 million. Morgan Grenfell, the merchant bank, boosted local sentiment by declaring local stocks undersold as the index rebounded 345 points in strong trading.

Wednesday Jardine Matheson dominated the news when it announced it was delisting from the exchange after failing to reach agreement with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on its regulatory boss.

Jardines had been seeking special exemption from the local takeover code, claiming that a new code incorporated in Bermuda would provide the necessary protection from predators. The resulting impasse ended with Jardines preparing to leave the exchange by December 31.

Lost in the welter of publicity surrounding the news was Jardines actual results for the year - profits up 23 per cent to US$388 million.

Wharf (Holdings) also announced a healthy increase in results with profits surging 33 per cent to $2.72 billion for the year.

Thursday Tycoon Li Ka-shing weighed in with his own results with flagships Cheung Kong and Hutchison announcing profits well ahead of forecasts. Cheung Kong was up 56 per cent at $9.78 billion while Hutchison soared 107 per cent to more than $6 billion.

Meanwhile, Shun Tak Holdings, the listed vehicle of casinos mogul Stanley Ho, reported profits ahead at $719 million.

Friday An eventful week drew to a close with the Hong Kong Association of Banks pushing up prime interest rates in the territory to 6.75 per cent from 6.5 per cent.