Hong Kong stocks advance to record close on optimism city will return to IPO glory in 2018
New rule allowing dual-class shares to be listed is seen making city the most attractive destination for IPOs once more
Hong Kong’s benchmark stock index rose 1.8 per cent to close at a historical high, on optimism the city’s stock exchange will see a flurry of initial public offerings from June that will help it regain its crown as the world’s favourite destination for raising capital.
The Hang Seng Index rose to close at 31,904.75, surpassing the record previously set on October 30, 2007. Advances were led by banks, property stocks, and a 19.8 per cent increase this year in the stock price of the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Limited, the bourse operator. The HSI is now also only 53 points from reaching an intraday record high.
The record close came after HKEX chief executive Charles Li Xiaojia unveiled a reform to listing rules that will allow large biotechnology companies without revenue and other new-economy firms to apply to list their dual-class shares in Hong Kong from the end of June.
“There will be some big names coming in for IPO in Hong Kong, so the market has more momentum,” said Stanley Chan, director of research at Emperor Securities.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index climbed 2.54 per cent, or 316.86 points, to 12,787.28.
Leading the rally was HKEX which shot up 6 per cent to HK$288.00 by Tuesday’s close.
Investors rushed to buy the shares of Asia’s third largest stock market operator after Li said on Tuesday morning that the existing stock connect scheme had helped boost daily market turnover. So far this year, average daily turnover has risen to HK$130 billion, compared to HK$88.25 billion in 2017 and HK$66.92 billion in 2016.
Hong Kong was surpassed last year by New York and Shanghai as the world’s largest destination for IPOs. To regain the crown, the stock market operator and regulator pushed through an overhaul of the exchange’s listing regulations last year to make Hong Kong a more attractive destination for so-called new-economy companies and biotechnology researchers to raise capital.