The Hang Seng Index rose to its highest level in five months Monday, as traders bought up property stocks that have lagged the overall market due to protests that have rocked the city since June. Hong Kong’s benchmark rose 0.3 per cent to 28,319.39. On July 26, it stood a 28,397.74. It has risen 9.6 per cent this year. “Market sentiment remains good,” said Kenny Wen, wealth management strategist at Everbright Sun Hung Kai. “People are chasing those sectors lagging behind,” such as property. The Hang Seng Properties Sub-Index rose 0.9 per cent. Wharf REIC climbed 3.6 per cent to HK$47.50. The owner of the Harbour City and Times Square luxury shopping malls has seen its stock hammered since protests began in June, driving away mainland tourists. It is only up 1.4 per cent for the year. Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong’s largest property developer, rose 1.3 per cent to HK$119. It is up 6.6 per cent for the year. Bucking the trend was Wheelock & Co., which slipped 0.3 per cent to HK$51.45, after its Wheelock Properties became the city’s third developer to volunteer to lease some of its land to ease the city’s housing crisis. Wheelock Properties to loan three plots of land at HK$1 each to NGOs for 2,000 ‘transitional’ homes to ease housing crisis Index heavyweight Tencent slipped 0.2 per cent to HK$383.20. It has risen 22 per cent in 2019. E-commerce giant Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post , fell 1 per cent to HK$210.60, following five straight sessions of gains. It has advanced nearly 20 per cent since it did a secondary listing in Hong Kong on November 26. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.2 per cent to 3,040.02, putting it ahead by 22 per cent this year. The CSI 300 Index of large cap stocks on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges rose 1.5 per cent to 4,4081.63. Chinese restaurant chain Jiumaojiu unveils IPO, sets to be first of 2020 listings in Hong Kong A step by the People’s Bank of China to make borrowing cheaper boosted sentiment in both the mainland and Hong Kong. The central bank said over the weekend that the loan prime rate (LPR) would be used to replace the old loan-pricing system, a move that will cut the borrowing costs for businesses and individuals. “A monetary easing is by all means a stimulus to the A share since it is a liquidity-driven market,” said He Yan, a hedge fund manager with Shanghai Shiva Investment. “But many traders remain cautious now after the Shanghai Composite Index broke through the 3,000-point level.” Only one trading day remains in 2019. Markets in both the mainland and Hong Kong will be closed Wednesday. Brokerages were among top gainers in mainland markets, rising 4.6 per cent according to an index tracking 46 of them compiled by Xuangubao. The National People’s Congress over the weekend approved amendments to the Securities Laws that will make it easier for companies to list on the country’s stock exchanges. That will help brokerages, which also engage in underwriting. Three brokerages hit the 10 per cent upside limit: SDIC Capital, to 13.76 yuan, Founder Securities, to 8.57 yuan, and Citic Securities, China’s largest publicly traded securities company, to 25.66 yuan. Liquor stocks climbed 3.5 per cent, according to a Xuangubao gauge, including Kweichow Moutai, which rose nearly 2 per cent to 1,185.80 yuan, and Wuliangye Yibin, which gained nearly 3 per cent to 132.82 yuan. Wireless headsets, which have been high fliers this year, fell 1.5 per cent, including Luxshare Precision Industry, which slipped 0.5 per cent, and GoerTek, which declined 1.7 per cent to 19.79 yuan.