The Guardian
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Hong Kong stocks end flat


asia stock marketHong Kong stocks ended marginally lower Monday after a long holiday weekend, but shares in mainland China closed higher on hopes of more economic stimulus measures after weak manufacturing data.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index closed down 9.18 points or 0.03 percent at 28,123.82, on turnover of HK$155.58 billion (US$19.9 billion).

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.87 percent or 38.80 points to 4,480.46 on turnover of 717.5 billion yuan ($117.3 billion).

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, rose 0.61 percent, or 13.89 points, to 2,281.66 on turnover of 499.2 billion yuan.

Gaming stocks were among the top gainers in Hong Kong. Macau casino figures showed revenues dropping for the 11th straight month, but the 39 percent decline in April was within expectations.

Shares in Wynn Macau closed at HK$16.54, up 4.82 percent, while Galaxy Entertainment rose 3.07 percent to HK$38.65. Sands China closed 3.31 percent higher at HK$32.8.

Macau’s casinos are suffering as Beijing reins in high-rolling visitors from the Chinese mainland in a corruption crackdown spearheaded by President Xi Jinping, which has dented the VIP gaming market.

Shanghai ended higher on hopes of monetary easing after a survey of Chinese manufacturing activity in April showed its worst contraction for a year.

HSBC’s final purchasing managers’ index came in at 48.9, below the break-even point of 50 and the weakest since 48.1 in the same month last year.

“The data shows China’s economy is still under downward pressure and no signs have shown whether it has hit bottom or not,” Central China Securities strategist Zhang Gang told AFP.

“This means that earlier measures have failed to lift the economy and people are expecting stronger moves from the government.”

China’s market regulator has approved 25 initial public offerings (IPO) for late April, and subscriptions will open on Tuesday.

“The market will likely rise further after liquidity recovers from the upcoming IPOs. It may be able to reach the key 5,000 points in the first half of this year,” Zhang said.

Insurance companies were among the biggest winners on Monday. On the Shanghai market, New China Life Insurance surged by its 10 percent daily limit to 59.21 yuan and China Pacific Insurance gained 3.53 percent to 36.05 yuan.

Railway infrastructure companies rose. Also on the Shanghai market, China Railway Group gained 0.28 percent to 21.37 yuan while China Railway Erju jumped 6.88 percent to 25.80 yuan.

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