Emmanuel Macron

Bank stocks lead Hong Kong, China rally as Macron looks set for French presidency

Property developers were also among the big winners as the Hang Seng closed at a one-month high on Tuesday

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 April, 2017, 9:27am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 August, 2017, 5:31pm

Hong Kong stocks rallied to a one-month high and recorded their biggest daily rise in five weeks, thanks to the outcome of the first round of voting in France’s presidential election.

The Hang Seng Index rose 1.3 per cent or 316.5 points to 24,455.9 on Tuesday. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index gained 1.6 per cent or 164.4 points to 10,272.1.

Hong Kong stocks joined the rally of global markets to trade higher as political concerns are reduced as France is less likely to follow a Brexit-like path
Hanna Li, strategist, UOB Kay Hian

The strong performance followed the victory of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of France’s presidential election.

“Hong Kong stocks joined the rally of global markets to trade higher as political concerns are reduced as France is less likely to follow a Brexit-like path,” said Hanna Li, strategist for UOB Kay Hian. “The companies with business involved in Europe outperformed on Tuesday.”

Several major international banks led the gains, with HSBC and Standard Chartered both advancing 1.3 per cent to close at HK$63.8 and HK$71.6, respectively. Chinese mainland banks also joined the rally. The world largest bank by assets, ICBC, was up 2.2 per cent to HK$5.1, and Bank of China climbed 1.9 per cent to HK$3.8. Bank of Communications added 2.9 per cent to HK$6.1 while Agricultural Bank of China jumped 2.3 per cent to HK$3.6.

Hong Kong local property developers were also among the big winners. Tycoon Li Ka-shing’s conglomerate CK Hutchison rose 1.9 per cent to HK$96.9. while CK Property tacked on 1.2 per cent to HK$55.2 after several investment banks, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, raised their target price on the company after the Australian government granted approval for it to acquire energy network operator Duet. New World Development added 1.2 per cent to close at HK$9.7.

HNA Holding, the owner of Hainan Airlines and a major buyer of land for development in Hong Kong in 2016, rose 9.2 per cent to close at 25 HK cents after slumping to a two-year low on Monday when fugitive businessman Guo Wengui was reported to have made allegations tying the company’s acquisitions to corruption involving Chinese leaders and their family members. HNA’s spokesman declined to comment on the allegation.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2 per cent to 3,134.6 on Tuesday, rebounding from a loss of 1.4 per cent on Monday when it fell to a three-month low. The CSI 300 — which tracks large companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen — increased 0.3 per cent to 3,441.0.

The Shenzhen Component Index rose 0.8 per cent to 10,165.2, while the Shenzhen Composite Index increased 0.5 per cent to 1,882.9. The Nasdaq-style ChiNext advanced 0.5 per cent to 1,818.9.

“The Hong Kong and mainland stock market is mainly benefiting from the positive sentiment in the US and Europe after the French presidential election. The impact may only be short-lived as there is no major news in the market,” said Louis Tse Ming-kwong, managing director of VC Asset Management. He said investors were unlikely to take on too much risk ahead of next week’s holidays.

In addition, mainland equities are likely to remain under pressure as Beijing has vowed to tighten regulation on insurance sector investments in the stock market.

Construction material producers may also find themselves under pressure.

“US President Donald Trump last week indicated he wanted to see US firms use domestic steel instead of imports from mainland China. This measure would hurt demand for mainland steel and other material producers,” Tse said.

Three Chinese companies made their trading debuts on mainland markets, all rising by their maximum allowable limits for first-day action.

ThinKingdom Media Group, a book publisher and drama producer, was up 44 per cent to 31.03 yuan in its Shanghai exchange debut, compared to its IPO price of 21.55 yuan.

Hainan Drinda Automotive Trim, a manufacturer of car parts, jumped by its 44 per cent limit to 13.03 yuan in Shenzhen, up from its IPO price of 9.05 yuan, while Fujian Nebula Electronics, a distributor of electrical equipment, leapt to 22.67 yuan before trading was suspended, rising 44 per cent from its IPO price of 15.74 yuan.