China / Business

Hong Kong stocks rally to highest level in nine months on earnings optimism

By Bloomberg (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-19 07:26

Hong Kong stocks climbed to their highest level since November after Tencent Holdings Ltd, Ping An Insurance (Group) Co and Lenovo Group Ltd earnings topped estimates.

The Hang Seng Index added 1 percent at the close. Tencent, which has the biggest weighting in the gauge, surged to a record after reporting a 47 percent rise in quarterly profit. Ping An Insurance and Lenovo gained at least 2.2 percent. A measure of mainland financial companies erased gains after people with knowledge of the matter said State-backed funds had sold bank shares on Tuesday.

Hong Kong's benchmark equity index has advanced 26 percent from its February low, one of the world's best performances, as fears of a hard landing receded on the mainland and Hong Kong's property market stabilized amid an improving interest-rate outlook.

The announcement of a long-anticipated exchange link with Shenzhen this week and better-than-expected corporate profits have given extra vigor to the rally, even as technical indicators flash a warning that gains may be overheating.

"There's a euphoria," said Francis Lun, chief executive officer at Geo Securities Ltd in Hong Kong. "Given the economic conditions, investors were not expecting too much from earnings."

Tencent jumped 5.2 percent, taking its 2016 rally to 33 percent, the most among Hang Seng Index constituents. Second-quarter sales and profit beat analysts' estimates as the operator of the WeChat and QQ social network services splashed out on mobile games and content. Ping An, China's second-largest insurer, advanced 2.5 percent after saying its first-half profit rose 18 percent.

Lenovo climbed 2.2 percent. The world's biggest PC maker posted a 64 percent gain in first-quarter profit as it cut costs and was helped by new Motorola smartphone models.

China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd jumped 7.7 percent, the biggest gainer on the Hang Seng Index, even as its first-half net income tumbled 80 percent. Chief Executive Officer Wang Xiaochu said the worst will soon be over for the company and that profit is likely to rise in the first half of next year.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd slumped for a second day after its first-half profit tumbled 82 percent. Swire Pacific Ltd, a conglomerate that owns a controlling stake in the airline, slid 2 percent after reporting a fall in its half-yearly earnings.

The Hang Seng Index climbed to 23,023.16. The gauge's 14-day relative strength index was at 70.8 at Thursday's close, above the threshold of 70 that signals to some traders that a rally is about to reverse. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index increased 0.1 percent.

The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.2 percent at the close.


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