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An electronic board displays the Hang Seng Index at Exchange Square in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

Hong Kong stocks gain on hopes of strengthening recovery amid easing of travel restrictions and improved Chinese data

  • Hang Seng Index closes 0.4 per cent higher on Friday, but ends up with a 0.6 per cent loss for the week
  • Rising stock markets across the region added to the positive sentiment

Hong Kong stocks held onto gains on optimism that further reopening of the city will boost growth and China can sustain its recovery from the fallout of the pandemic.

The Hang Seng Index advanced 0.4 per cent to 21,725.78 at the close, paring an intraday gain of as much as 1.5 per cent. For the week, the benchmark slid 0.6 per cent. The Hang Seng Tech Index climbed 0.6 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.3 per cent.

CSPC Pharmaceutical Group and Alibaba Group Holding led the benchmark higher, rising more than 3 per cent to HK$8.47 and HK$121, respectively. PetroChina and CNOOC rose at least 0.5 per cent amid rising crude futures.
Hong Kong removed a circuit breaker mechanism for flights from Thursday in a bid to further ease travel restrictions, while leading economic data showed that China’s recovery from the damage of the pandemic was under way, with both official and private purchasing managers’ index reports signalling expansion of the manufacturing and services sectors.

While the official report by the statistics bureau next week may show that China’s growth slowed to 1 per cent in the second quarter, investors are likely to take the data in their stride, believing that the worst is already over and growth will pick up from here.

“Policy easing and reopening remain the key themes to monetise China’s idiosyncratic alpha,” strategists led by Kinger Lau at Goldman Sachs wrote in a note on Friday. “Besides conventional monetary and fiscal measures, China is also loosening in other key policy cohorts that are consequential to the real economy and asset markets, notably internet regulation, the housing market policy and Covid-related restrictions.”

Stock market gains across the region also added to the positive sentiment, with benchmarks in Japan and Taiwan showing the biggest gains in excess of 1 per cent. Some Federal Reserve officials reassured investors that the US central bank can curb runaway inflation without plunging the economy into a recession.

Nio shares advanced after Morgan Stanley raised the sales target of Chinese electric vehicle makers. Photo: Qilai Shen
Nio gained 5.6 per cent to HK$176.10 and XPeng advanced 0.4 per cent to HK$125 after Morgan Stanley raised the sales target of Chinese electric vehicle makers including BYD and Li Auto for the year and 2023.

Six companies started trading in Hong Kong and the mainland’s exchanges on Friday, with only two holding onto gains.

The best performer was waste water treatment company Beijing China Sciences Runyu Environment Technology, which surged 110 per cent to 8.03 yuan in Shenzhen, while the other gainer was Xuan Wu Cloud Technology Holdings, which rose 0.6 per cent to HK$6.28 in Hong Kong.

Property management firm Lushang Life Services tumbled the most. It slumped 25 per cent to HK$4.43 in Hong Kong, while the declines in the other three debutants ranged from 1.5 per cent to 15 per cent.