The Hong Kong markets rose on Thursday, as positive developments on the coronavirus vaccine front and strong economic data from China’s services sector fuelled hopes of a recovery from the pandemic. The Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 per cent to 26,728.50. The Shanghai Composite, meanwhile, slipped 0.2 per cent for its second consecutive day of declines. The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a gauge of sentiment among smaller, private companies, rose to 57.8 in November from 56.8 in October. A reading above 50.0 indicates growth. November’s reading was above a median forecast by analysts compiled by Bloomberg, which pointed to a slight decline to 56.2. Positive developments on the coronavirus vaccine front have also given markets a boost. In the afternoon on Wednesday, the United Kingdom became the first country globally to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for use, and said that it will be rolled out from early next week. “If the vaccine is successful in the UK, and more countries follow suit, investors will start to allocate more of their liquidity into old economy stocks. The complexion of the markets will be different, [thanks to the shift] to these stocks, which have been sold down heavily for the past 12 months,” said Louis Tse Ming-kwong, the managing director of brokerage Wealthy Securities. People will want to accumulate more of old economy stocks over the next few weeks, and will eagerly await the outcome of the UK vaccinations, he added. In Hong Kong, pharmaceuticals led gains among blue chips on the benchmark Hang Seng Index. CSPC Pharmaceutical gained 5.9 per cent, while the new shares of WuXi Biologics, which emerged after a stock split last month, gained 2.4 per cent. Fosun Pharmaceutical, which has exclusive rights for the Pfizer vaccine in China , gained 3.7 per cent. HSBC added 2.1 per cent on Thursday, while Standard Chartered gained 3.7 per cent. Property stocks also gained. Link Reit rose 5.7 per cent, while Wharf REIC gained 4.2 per cent. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi also rose on Thursday, by 4.1 per cent, after a 7.1 per cent plunge the day before , its biggest drop in three weeks. It raised US$4 billion in the biggest ever top-up fundraising in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Meanwhile, trading in the shares of Digital Next , which owns the Apple Daily newspaper, was halted on Thursday after its founder, Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, and a pair of senior executives were charged with fraud overnight. On the mainland, smart logistics systems solution provider BlueSword Intelligent Technology fell 12.4 per cent, leading the losses on the Shanghai Composite Index. Vaccine related stocks, on the other hand, gained 4 per cent, according to a gauge compiled by Xuangubao.cn. Chongqing Zhengchuan Pharmaceutical Packaging, which produces glass containers such as tubular injection bottles, rose by the upper limit of 10 per cent in Shanghai. The shares of two companies started trading on mainland bourses on Thursday. Jiangsu Xiehe Electronic, which manufactures printed circuit boards, gained 44 per cent to 38.25 yuan a share from its listing price of 26.56 yuan in Shanghai. Zhejiang Entive Smart Kitchen Appliance, which manufactures household appliances, rose 163.2 per cent to 64.09 yuan a share from its issue price of 24.35 yuan in Shenzhen. Risks lay ahead for Chinese companies even as business and credit conditions are expected to stabilise in 2021, according to a research note from Moody’s Investors Service. “Tensions with the US are expected to remain, dampening investment sentiment and adding barriers to trade,” it said. US legislation aimed at removing Chinese companies from US stock exchanges for not complying with auditing oversight rules was passed with a voice vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. It now moves to President Donald Trump, who has not indicated whether he will sign it into law. Other markets in Asia-Pacific rose on Thursday. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX200 increased by 0.4 per cent.