Hong Kong stocks in longest winning streak since March as French election settles nerves

Casino stocks surged after Wynn Macau first-quarter profit came in above expectations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2017, 9:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2017, 6:30pm

Hong Kong stocks closed higher on Wednesday, joining a global equity rally driven by optimism over centrist Emmanuel Macron winning the first round of the French presidential election.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 per cent, or 122.5 points, to 24,578.4, gaining for a third straight day in its longest winning streak since March 21.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was up 0.4 per cent or 45.6 points at 10,317.6.

“Some Hong Kong stocks with overseas business have become more attractive as global political concerns eased,” said Li Jiahao, an analyst at China Galaxy International.

Some Hong Kong stocks with overseas business have become more attractive as global political concerns eased
Li Jiahao, China Galaxy International

Li recommended Hong Kong conglomerate Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and Power Assets Holdings, as their overseas businesses are likely to improve amid the reduced political risks.

Wynn Macau jumped 4 per cent to HK$17.5 after reporting that its first quarter net profit increased 26 per cent to US$103.56 million from a year earlier, beating market expectations.

Other casino stocks followed suit, with SJM Holdings surging 5.6 per cent to HK$7.6, and Melco International up 5.4 per cent to HK$16.1. Galaxy Entertainment added 4.7 per cent to HK$44.2.

Mainland Chinese insurers and banks also advanced in Hong Kong. China Life Insurance added 1.5 per cent to HK$23.8. Ping An Insurance climbed 0.8 per cent to HK$43.6, ICBC was up 0.5 per cent to HK$5.1 and Bank of China tacked on 0.5 per cent to HK$3.8.

In mainland trading, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 per cent to 3,140.9. The CSI 300, which tracks large companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, was up 0.1 per cent to 3,445.2.

The Shenzhen Component Index rose 0.4 per cent to 10,165.2, while the Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.4 per cent to 1,882.9. However, the Nasdaq-style ChiNext was virtually flat, gaining just 0.09 per cent to 1,818.87.

Overnight, US stocks followed European markets to close higher. Sentiment also received a boost from better-than-expected corporate earnings and expectations that US President Donald Trump will reveal details about a tax reform plan, as promised, on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1 per cent, or 232.2 points, to close at 20,996.1. The S&P 500 gained 14.5 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 2,388.6, and the Nasdaq Composite added 41.7 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 6,025.6.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 moved 1.1 per cent higher to 19,289.4. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.6 per cent at 5,936.8.

Hong Kong stocks listed in the US as American Depository Receipts (ADRs) closed mixed compared with their Hong Kong counterparts after conversion into the local currency.

HSBC’s ADR ended 0.6 per cent higher at HK$64.2, compared with its previous Hong Kong close of HK$63.8. China Telecom finished up 0.3 per cent at HK$3.9. However, China Southern Airlines declined 0.5 per cent to HK$5.3.