Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 14 News List

HK shares close firmer despite China concerns

Reuters and Bloomberg

Hong Kong stocks ended firmer on Friday, as China slowdown worries were offset by the upbeat mood from strength on Wall Street and relief that a centrist was appointed head of the US Federal Reserve.

The Hang Seng index rose 0.3 percent, to 28,603.61, while the China Enterprises Index (HSCE) was unchanged at 11,602.40 points.

For the week, the Hang Seng was up 0.6 percent, but the HSCE lost 0.4 percent.

A private survey showed on Friday that activity picked up slightly in China’s services sector last month, but growth remained modest and much weaker than historical trends.

Still, further gains in main US equity indices helped offset the survey’s effects.

The survey findings, together with other private and official business readings this week, are likely to reinforce views that the Chinese economy will slow down in the fourth quarter after racing ahead earlier in the year.

Yang Yewei, strategist at Southwest Securities Co (西南證券), forecast that China’s economy, which expanded 6.8 percent in the September quarter from a year earlier, will decelerate to 6.6 percent in this year’s final quarter, and to 6.5 percent in the first quarter of next year.

He cited the government’s anti-pollution campaigns, slowing property investment and the prospect of tighter liquidity as factors.

Investors on Friday sold shares nearly across the board, with resources, real estate and industrial firms among the biggest casualties.

Bucking the trend, companies that directly or indirectly participated in Qihoo 360 Technology Co’s (奇虎360) privatization scheme surged after the announcement of a Shanghai backdoor listing plan by the anti-virus software maker previously listed in the US.

Investors were relieved by news that Fed Governor Jerome Powell would become the new head of the US central bank, signaling policy continuity.

Most sectors rose. An index tracking IT companies gained 1.4 percent.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Friday closed up 12.26 points, or 0.11 percent, at 10,800.77. The index is up 0.9 percent from last week’s 10,709.11 points.

On Thursday, Japan’s TOPIX closed at 1,794.08 points, gaining 1.3 percent for the week. Japanese markets were closed on Friday for Culture Day.

On Friday, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI rose by the same amount.

India’s NIFTY 50 inched up 0.28 percent while Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 1.81 percent.

FTSE Bursa Malaysia slipped 0.12 percent and the Philippines’ PSEi lost 1.6 percent.

Additional reporting by CNA and staff writer

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