HK shares end flat ahead of key policy events in China, US

Shoaib Ur Rehman December 17, 2018

Shares in Hong Kong finished flat on Monday amid low trading volumes, as investors await the outcome of key policy meetings this week in China and the United States.

The Hang Seng index ended flat at 26,087.98 points.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises index closed 0.1 percent down to 10,351.81 points.

About 1.07 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 66.1 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 1.62 billion shares a day.

Many investors are awaiting a speech from President Xi Jinping on Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening.

Top leaders are also due to map out economic and reform plans for 2019 during an annual Central Economic Work Conference this week.

The US Federal Reserve is seen as almost certain to raise interest rates at its two-day policy meeting starting on Tuesday.

Many market players also expect the Fed to lower its projections for future interest rate hikes given increasing headwinds to the economy.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares closed 0.7 percent lower, while the IT sector ended down 0.15 percent, the financial sector ended 0.07 percent lower and the property sector ended up 0.05 percent.

The top gainer on the Hang Seng was WH Group Ltd, which gained 1.69 percent, while the biggest loser was Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, which closed 2.62 percent weaker.

Automotive shares suffered after China said on Friday it will temporarily suspend additional 25 percent tariffs on US-made vehicles and auto parts starting Jan. 1, 2019, following a truce in a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.2 percent at 2,597.97 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended down 0.2 percent.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.21 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 0.62 percent higher.

The yuan was quoted at 6.901 per US dollar at 0824 GMT, 0.13 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.91.

The top gainers among H-shares were China Tower Corp Ltd which ended up 2.94 percent, followed by Guangdong Investment Ltd, which closed 1.74 percent higher and China Communications Construction Co Ltd, which ended 1.45 percent firmer.

The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Byd Co Ltd, which ended down 4.37 percent, Air China Ltd, which closed 2.8 percent lower and ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co Ltd, which ended down 2.6 percent.

At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 18.71 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

Copyright Reuters, 2018




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