Hong Kong stocks reverse losses after upbeat China data
Hang Seng Index and Shanghai Composite both underperformed major global indices in February with losses of more than 6 per cent
Hong Kong stocks reversed early losses to close higher on Thursday, tracking gains on the mainland markets that were driven by upbeat China data and investors’ hunt for bargains in technology and property stocks.
The Hang Seng Index ended up by 0.65 per cent, or 199.53 points, to 31,044.25. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, known as the H-share index, added 0.38 per cent, or 46.80 points, to 12,428.88.
Growth in China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly picked up to a six-month high in February as factories rushed to replenish inventories to meet rising new orders, a private survey showed on Thursday.
The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) edged up to 51.6 last month, from 51.5 in January, and against economists’ expectations of a slight dip to 51.3. The Caixin survey, which focuses more on small and mid-sized companies, countered findings from the larger official PMI version that showed downbeat official factory activity reading on Wednesday.
“Hong Kong stocks are following the pattern of the Chinese markets, as investors rotate out of the traditional, big cap sector and into technology and other smaller companies,” said Stanley Chan, director of research at Emperor Securities.
Internet giant Tencent Holdings, gained 3.42 per cent to HK$447, contributing 105 points to the benchmark index while ASM Pacific Technology surged 5.6 per cent to HK$118.80 after the semiconductor tools maker reported net profit growth of 92.3 per cent to HK$2.815 billion (US$360 million) for the year ended December 2017.
Wharf Holdings advanced 2.05 per cent to HK$29.90 and Country Garden Holdings rose 1.70 per cent to HK$14.32.
Meanwhile blue chip shares continued to decline. WH Group was down 1.03 per cent to HK$9.60. The meat processor, which soared more than 10 per cent in the past two weeks, will release annual results later this month.
Oil stocks also dropped after international crude futures settled lower on Wednesday. PetroChina declined 1.27 per cent to HK$5.46, CNOOC fell 1.23 per cent to HK$11.26 and Sinopec eased 0.32 per cent to HK$6.28.
On the mainland markets, the Shanghai Composite Index pared early losses, finishing up 0.44 per cent to 3,273.755.
The large-cap CSI 300 Index rose 0.63 per cent to 4,049.09. The Shenzhen Composite Index and the ChiNext Price Index gained 1.23 per cent and 2.07 per cent to 1,834.01 and 1,789.85 respectively.