Late recovery makes it a lucky 13 for Hong Kong stocks
HSBC registers its biggest daily gain since July, while Tencent loses 2.5pc despite being the day’s most heavily traded stock
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished slightly higher on Thursday, as it continues to march towards its all-time high, boosted by HSBC Holdings and insurers.
The Hang Seng Index traded lower for most of the morning before reversing losses and ending up 0.2 per cent, or 46.67 points, at 31,120.39, marking the 13th straight session of gains. It hit an all-time high of 31,958.41 in October 2007.
However, turnover of the main board fell to HK$128.8 billion (US$16.5 billion) from HK$140.6 billion on Wednesday.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, known as the H shares index, eked out a gain of 0.05 per cent, or 6.35 points, to 12,295,52.
“This kind of market rally isn’t really healthy,” said Kingston Lin King-ham, director at AMTD securities brokerage. “But it continues to be supported by buying from fund houses and southbound flows.”
HSBC Holdings gained 2.4 per cent to HK$84.05, its biggest daily rise since July, and was the biggest contributor, of 75 points, to the benchmark index. Citigroup had earlier said in its report that the banking industry in Hong Kong had the highest profitability among developed markets in the world, boosted by strong loan growth momentum and net interest margin expansion.
Ping An Insurance Company of China rose 0.5 per cent to HK$83.55, China Life Insurance gained 0.4 per cent to HK$24.50 and AIA Group added 0.2 per cent to HK$66.70.
Sunny Optical Technology (Group) was the best performing blue chip, surging 9 per cent to HK$112.30 after posting better than expected operating statistics for December. The smartphone camera lens maker also proposed to issue a US dollar denominated bond for funding capital expenditures and refinancing purposes.
Apple supplier AAC Technology Holdings gained 4.4 per cent to HK$148.70 and Chinese selfie-enhancing app provider Meitu climbed 4.8 per cent to HK$12.58.
Internet giant Tencent Holdings, however, slid 2.5 per cent to HK$429.40, and was the most heavily traded company.
Anhui Conch Cement dropped after industry data provider ccement.com reported that it had cut prices following a drop in demand in China’s eastern region. Other cement makers also fell. China Resources Cement Holdings slipped 6 per cent to HK$5.5, China National Building Material declined 7.8 per cent to HK$7.65 and China Conch Venture Holdings tumbled 6.4 per cent to HK$19.84.
Carmakers also continued to decelerate further. Geely Automobile Holdings was down for a third day, shedding 1.5 per cent to HK$26.30, Brilliance China Automotive Holding fell 1.8 per cent to HK$19.84 and BYD lost 0.07 per cent to HK$68.75.
Real estate developers retreated, with Sunac China Holdings falling 4.7 per cent to HK$36.85 and Country Garden Holdings slipping 0.3 per cent to HK$18.42.
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing lost 1.25 per cent to HK$268.40.
Mainland markets were generally firm. The Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1 per cent, or 3.51 points to 3,425.34 although the large-cap CSI 300 slipped 0.05 per cent, or 2.22 points, to 4,205.59. The turnover of the two bourses reached 477.2 billion yuan (US$73.2 billion).
The Shenzhen Composite Index rose modestly by 0.4 per cent, or 7.46 points, to 1,953.12, rising for a 10th straight session, and the ChiNext Price Index gained 0.7 per cent, or 13.15 points, to 1,804.23.
In Asian trading on Thursday, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 per cent, or 77.77 points, to 23,710.43. South Korea’s Kospi and Australia’s Sydney All Ordinaries both fell 0.5 per cent.