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Bronze sculptures of bulls are seen outside the Hong Kong stock exchange in Central i 2018. Photo: SCMP / Dickson Lee

HSBC, Alibaba, BYD power Hong Kong stocks to best gain since March as markets temper US rate-hike bets

  • Stocks caught up with overnight gains in global markets as traders pared US rate-hike bets for 2023 following a weak manufacturing report
  • Alibaba, HSBC and BYD paced rally as the Hang Seng Index clawed its way up from the lowest level since October 2011
Hong Kong stocks surged by the most in more than five months as trading resumed after a holiday, catching up on overnight gains in global markets. Traders scaled back bets the Federal Reserve will push on with its aggressive rate hikes into 2023.

The Hang Seng Index jumped 5.9 per cent to 18,087.97 at the close of Wednesday trading from the level on Monday, the biggest gain since mid-March. The Tech Index soared 7.5 per cent. Asian currencies recouped losses as the US dollar retreated. Financial markets in mainland China are closed for the entire week.

Tech stocks fuelled the rally. Alibaba Group Holding surged 8.4 per cent to HK$84.20, NetEase jumped 7.9 per cent to HK$127 and Tencent advanced 6.1 per cent to HK$280. Carmaker BYD rocketed 9.3 per cent to HK$209.80 after reporting record sales in September.

“The market has slumped sharply in the past few weeks, so the weakening US dollar and potentially [slower] rate hikes have remarkably lifted the mood,” said Dickie Wong, executive director at Kingston Securities.

A private report on Monday showed US factory activity slipped in September to a more than two-year low. A US job report later this week may show a drop in employment openings, with a cooling labour market potentially further dampening bets on Fed tightening pace.

HSBC jumped 5.7 per cent to HK$42.65 after the UK-based lender said it was considering selling its Canadian business after exiting from the US earlier this year. Ping An Insurance, one of its biggest shareholders, soared 9.6 per cent to HK$41.10.

WH Group to gain US$467 million from sale of food spices unit to French firm

WH Group surged 6.8 per cent to HK$5.20. The world’s biggest pork-processing company agreed to sell its food spices unit in the US under Smithfield Foods to French group Solina for US$587.5 million. It expects to book a US$467 million gain from the sale in 2022.

The Hang Seng Index slumped 21 per cent last quarter to the lowest level since October 2011, as the market worried about China’s slowdown under the weight of its zero-Covid policy. Investors are now waiting for possible policy adjustments and further reopening of the economy after the Communist Party’s 20th congress later this month.

Asian equity markets were bullish, with the MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan index advancing more than 2 per cent on Tuesday.

Regional stocks gained further in early trading on Wednesday, with the Nikkei 225 adding 0.5 per cent in Tokyo and the S&P/ASX 200 Index rising 1.7 per cent in Sydney. The Kospi is up 0.3 per cent in Seoul.