Hong Kong stocks rise to highest level since Sept 9, fuelled by energy stocks

Hang Seng Index ends 0.7 per cent higher

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 October, 2016, 9:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 October, 2016, 10:30pm

Positive sentiment about United States stocks and reduced expectations for an interest rate rise helped to power the Hong Kong equity benchmark to a one-month high on Thursday, with energy stocks among the big gainers.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.69 per cent or 164.19 points to 23,952.50, the highest closing level since September 9, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 1.39 per cent or 135.92 points to 9,947.10.

Stocks were buoyed by a relatively stable performance by United States markets and as few investors expect an interest rate hike next month, Hantec Group executive director Gordon Tsui Luen-on said.

He expects the optimistic mood to continue into Friday when new US jobs data is set to be released.

Among stocks losing ground on Thursday, property developers were knocked lower, with Henderson Land slipping 0.64 per cent and New World Development falling 0.59 per cent. Tsui said property developers were under pressure amid concerns related to interest rate tightening concerns.

Energy stocks continued their swing upwards, following gains on Wednesday amid surging oil prices.

PetroChina increased 4.41 per cent and Sinopec Corp gained 1.71 per cent to settle at a 52-week high. Coal stocks were also on the rise, with China Shenhua jumping 3.26 per cent and Yanzhou Coal ahead by 3 per cent.

Last week OPEC member countries agreed to cut oil production for the first time in eight years. Oil prices also moved upward on data showing US crude oil stockpiles fell for the fifth week in a row.

Castor Pang Wai-san, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi International (HK), said the Hong Kong markets were enjoying improved sentiment.

Banking stocks also saw some upward movement, following the slight improvement registered in the Nikkei Hong Kong Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) to 49.3 in September, up from 49.0 in August. HSBC Holdings rose 0.59 per cent and Hang Seng Bank advanced 1.22 per cent.

Nomura analysts said in a note they are revising their 2016 GDP growth forecast for the city to 1.2 per cent from 1 per cent on the improved PMI print.

Pang said the PMI increase was a factor helping to push stocks higher on Thursday, but noted that it was not a “major reason” for the upbeat session.

He believes the Hang Seng still has a chance to regain the 24,000 level.

“In the short-term, the Hang Seng [will] still face very strong resistance when the index hits 24,000 because the short-term upside momentum will be limited by the upper bands of the [market],” Pang said.

Pang said there has been “quite a lot” of trading in Hong Kong, considering mainland markets and the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect remain closed during the week-long National Day holiday until October 10, stalling southbound flows.

All three major US indices rallied on Wednesday on the energy sector, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing 0.62 per cent higher at 18,281.03 and the S&P 500 tacking on 0.43 per cent to 2,159.73. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.50 per cent to 5,316.02.

Financial stocks such as Goldman Sachs and Boeing also rose, despite fears of a “hard Brexit” that sent the pound to a 31-year low against the dollar.

In Asian trading on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.47 per cent at 16,899.10 while South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.60 per cent.