Friday, 07 August 2015 14:00
HONG KONG: Hong Kong and Chinese stocks ended the week higher after retaking lost ground as Beijing announced fresh attempts to stabilise mainland markets.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index finished up 0.73 percent, or 177.19 points, to 24,552.47 on turnover of HK$ 71.36 billion ($ 9.19 billion).
Banking shares in Hong Kong rallied after a poor showing the previous day, with ICBC up 0.94 percent to HK$ 5.39, China Construction Bank rising 1.42 percent to HK$ 6.41, and Bank of China increasing 1.43 percent to HK$ 4.25.
Shipping companies skyrocketed on speculative buying due to rumours of a possible merger between COSCO and China Shipping, parent of China Shipping Container Lines.
COSCO was up 13.56 percent to HK$ 4.94 and China Shipping Container Lines up 23.90 percent to HK$ 3.11.
Elsewhere, life insurer Ping An rose 1.73 percent to $ 44.05 and Chinese internet giant Tencent stemmed big losses this week by ending up 0.85 percent to HK$ 142.1.
Shanghai stocks closed up 2.26 percent on Friday ahead of the release of economic data over the weekend, on hopes for more government measures to boost the market, dealers said.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 82.66 points to 3,744.20 on turnover of 445.5 billion yuan ($ 72.8 billion). The index added 2.20 percent over the week.
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, rose 3.00 percent, or 63.50 points, to 2,177.15 on turnover of 448.8 billion yuan. It gained 3.15 percent for the week.
“The market has stabilised with weak turnover, which is usually a sign it has reached the near-term bottom, so investors felt safe to buy at this level,” Phillip Securities analyst Chen Xingyu told AFP.
US investment bank Goldman Sachs has estimated China has already spent up to 900 billion yuan in the last two months to try to prop up stock prices and halt a market rout.
Bloomberg News on Thursday reported that the state-backed China Securities Finance Corp. (CSF), tasked with stabilising the market, is seeking an additional 2.0 trillion yuan, which would bring its market support funds to 5.0 trillion yuan.
“It’s highly unlikely that the CSF will pour the whole 5.0 trillion yuan into the stock market, but it will scare short-sellers away,” Chen said.
The stock gains on Friday came despite the weekend release of trade and inflation figures for July, which could show weakness in the world’s second largest economy.
“There’s a consensus that the weekend data will show an economy struggling and the speculation is still there that policy, particularly fiscal, will be looser,” Wu Kan, a Shanghai-based fund manager at JK Life Insurance, told Bloomberg News.
Telecom companies were higher in Shanghai. Datang Telecom Technology jumped 6.85 percent to 28.39 yuan while China Unicom added 2.11 percent to 6.28 yuan.
Software companies rose in Shenzhen. Digiwin Software surged by its 10 percent daily limit to 52.22 yuan and Jiangsu HopeRun Software also rose 10 percent to 37.33 yuan.