Hang Seng Index

China, Hong Kong stocks rise, but US-China trade talks continue to weigh on sentiment

  • Trading values in Shanghai and Shenzhen drop to three-month lows
  • Property stocks rally on expectations of policy easing amid economic slowdown
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 11:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 5:24pm

Stocks listed in China rose on Tuesday but turnovers shrank to a three-month low, as traders waited for clarity on US-China trade talks in the aftermath of Huawei chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou’s detention in Canada. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4 per cent, or 9.51 points, to 2,594.09 at the close.

In Hong Kong, stocks gained for the first time in five days. The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.1 per cent, or 19.29 points, to 25,771.67.

The offshore yuan strengthened by as much as 0.3 per cent against the US dollar after China’s commerce ministry said Vice-Premier Liu He had spoken to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the phone about a timetable and road map for negotiations on Tuesday.

The combined trading values on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges in mainland China dwindled to 218.1 billion yuan (US$31.6 billion), the lowest level since September 17, as traders closely watched Meng’s ongoing bail hearing in Vancouver. She is accused by the US of violating sanctions against Iran. Traders were also awaiting the release of a set of key economic data for November, including monetary supply and industrial output, which is due this week. Preliminary data shows overseas shipments decelerated and gains in factory gate prices were moderate.

“The coming trade talks will probably have lots of twists, because of the Huawei episode,” said Wu Kan, an investment manager at Soochow Securities in Shanghai. “There are a lot of uncertain elements facing the market, and that’s why many investors are on the sidelines, waiting for clearer signals.”

The public hearing for Meng adjourned on Monday without a decision on whether she could be released on bail, and will continue on Tuesday.

Chinese developers paced the gains by mainland stocks, on the bet that policymakers will soften measures aimed at cooling China’s housing market amid the slowdown in the economy. RiseSun Real Estate Development jumped by 7.3 per cent to 8.71 yuan in Shenzhen and Gemdale gained 4.1 per cent to 9.92 yuan in Shanghai. China Vanke added 3.9 per cent to 25.97 yuan and its Hong Kong-listed stock rose by 1.5 per cent to HK$26.50.

Health care stocks rebounded after some drug makers said China’s latest pilot government procurement programme will have a limited affect on their earnings.

A gauge tracking pharmaceutical stocks on the CSI 300 Index rose by 1 per cent, snapping a loss of 10 per cent over the past three days. Huadong Medicine added 2.2 per cent to 28.26 yuan after slumping by 25 per cent over the previous three days. The drug maker said in an exchange filing its key products were not on the latest procurement list, which slashed prices by more than half, and no impact was expected on 2018 earnings. Zhangzhou Pientzehuang Pharmaceutical rallied by 4.9 per cent to 89.19 yuan and Aier Eye Hospital Group rose by 4.3 per cent to 30.42 yuan.

Some Apple suppliers dropped after a Chinese court ruling banned the sale of some iPhone models in the country. Lens Technology, which derives almost half of its revenues from Apple, slipped by 0.7 per cent to 7.55 yuan in Shenzhen, and Luxshare Precision Industry, which relies on the US company for 37 per cent of its sales, fell 0.1 per cent to 14.94 yuan.

The world’s largest smartphone chip supplier, Qualcomm, said it was granted an injunction against Apple by a court in the southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou. The court ruling has banned the sale of iPhone models that ran an older version of its operating system in China for patent violations.