Hong Kong stocks completed a winning week as traders look for a boost in earnings reports from big China technology firms even as US regional Fed officials called for an early pullback in monetary stimulus.
The Hang Seng Index climbed 2.3 per cent for the week to 25,407 as a bounce in Chinese tech stocks lifted the market out of bear territory. Electric-car maker BYD climbed 2.3 per cent and Meituan, which is under Beijing’s antitrust probe, slipped 0.8 per cent before their earnings releases.
The Hang Seng Tech Index logged a 7.3 per cent advance this week after a marginal drop on Friday, handing investors the best performance in seven months. China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 per cent.
Some 45 of the Hang Seng Index members have so far released their report cards in the current earnings season, with first-half profits rising by 49 per cent from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg data. That trailed analysts’ projections by 3.4 per cent. Profit growth was 20 per cent in the first quarter.
The Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole meeting in Wyoming will be in focus as Chair Jerome Powell is expected to shed light on when and how the US central bank will pare its bond-purchase programme after years of ultra-loose policy accommodation through economic crises.
Some non-voting members have said the withdrawal of stimulus could happen within the year. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan favoured a move as early as October while his St. Louis counterpart James Bullard called for a start in the fall.
“Wall Street is expecting Powell to imply that tapering in September is likely, but refrain on giving any other hints with the timing and speed of the actual taper speed,” said Edward Moya, an analyst at Oanda. “Powell could show more anxiety over inflation and that might help trigger a quicker removal of accommodation.”
While Hang Seng Index members are trading close to the average book value, the cheapness has yet to lure mainland Chinese investors in a big way. They were still net sellers of local shares this week, suggesting China’s regulatory clampdown has continued to weigh on sentiment.
Ping An Insurance climbed 4 per cent to HK$64.50 on a plan to spend as much as 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) buying back its onshore shares. First-half profit for China’s biggest insurer dropped 16 per cent from a year earlier. Its Shanghai-listed A shares gained 3.4 per cent to 52 yuan.
China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group, the electric-car making unit of troubled China Evergrande Group, rebounded 25 per cent to HK$6.50, halting a decline of 51 per cent over the past four days.
Shenzhen Xinhao Photoelectricity Technology, which makes glass protection covers and touch modules, surged 39 per cent from its initial public offering price to 137.03 yuan on the first day of trading in Shenzhen.