HONG KONG: Hong Kong stocks continued their rally on Friday, as improvement in market sentiment persisted, buoyed by China’s stepped-up efforts to boost the economy.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 1.5%, recording a ninth consecutive day of gains and its the longest winning streak since January 2018.

Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech gaints extended gains and closed 2.7% higher.

Mainland Chinese markets are closed for holidays from May 1-3.

China’s politburo statement at the end of April “indicates a stronger commitment to a pro-growth and pro-reform policy agenda,” said Jason Lui, head of APAC Equity and derivative strategy, BNP Paribas, adding the firm is upgrading their view on the MSCI China index.

Meanwhile, UBS says global hedge funds that use an equities long-short strategy are growing increasingly bullish on China, evidenced by the heavy pick-up in their purchases of Hong Kong-listed shares.

The Hang Seng index climbed 268.79 points or 1.48% to 18,475.92. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 1.71% to 6,547.29.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 0.9%, while the IT sector rose 2.11%, the financial sector ended 1.42% higher and the property sector rose 1.16%.

The top gainer on the Hang Seng was JD.Com, which gained 5.48%, while WuXi AppTec fell 5.3% and was the biggest loser.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.86%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.1%.

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