Hong Kong stocks track Wall Street losses to end lower on Christmas Eve, while China shares rise

  • US government shutdown clouds market outlook
  • China promises more support for economy, boosts mainland shares
PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2018, 6:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2018, 6:00pm

Stocks listed in Hong Kong declined during thinned out holiday trading on Monday, tracking Friday’s losses on Wall Street. In mainland China, however, shares rose on the promise of policy support for the economy.

The Hong Kong market traded for half a day because of the Christmas holiday, and the benchmark Hang Seng Index inched down by 0.4 per cent, or 102.04 points, to close at 25,651.38 by noon. On the mainland, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.4 per cent, or 10.76 points, to 2,527.01.

An ongoing shutdown of parts of the federal government in the United States since Friday has weighed on market sentiment, even though China’s top policymakers vowed on Friday to support a slowing economy with policies ranging from tax cuts to larger fiscal spending.

Declines in the Nasdaq Composite Index, one of the three major US indices, pushed it into bear market territory on Friday. It has now lost 21.9 per cent since August.

“This is the last full week of the year, so the market is not buying too much of the positivity at this point of time, and risk aversion is rather strong with dim trading expected ahead,” said Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based market strategist at IG.

The turnover on Hong Kong’s main board on Monday stood at HK$34.7 billion (US$4.4 billion), down from HK$91.2 billion on Friday.

The Hong Kong market will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets will trade as usual. Buying of Chinese stocks by international investors, or the so-called northbound trade, through the stock connects with Shanghai and Shenzhen, will also be suspended.

Shares in Chinese property developers dropped after top government officials reiterated Beijing’s firm stance on curbing property speculation during a meeting of the Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) on Friday.

Sunac China Holdings, the country’s fourth-largest developer by sales last year, declined by 2.8 per cent to HK$24.8. China Overseas Land and Investment shed 1.9 per cent to HK$26.05.

In mainland China, companies related to fifth-generation mobile communications, or 5G, led the advance, after policymakers at CEWC said the country needed to accelerate the pace of development to achieve the commercial application of the technology.

Mobile phone services providers Bybon Group and GuangDong Super Telecom jumped by the daily limit of 10 per cent to 25.14 yuan and 26.36 yuan, respectively.