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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares bounce after further easing by Fed

China Unicom and China Telecom jump after 2019 results

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares jumped amid a rebound for Asian equities and U.S. stock futures on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve announced more monetary policy measures to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 4.5% to 22,663.49 following a 4.9% drop on Monday. Social media and gaming major Tencent Holdings added 4.9%, while pan-Asia insurer AIA Group rose 3.9%. China Unicom (Hong Kong) surged 10.3% after reporting an 11% increase in 2019 profit, while China Telecom added 8.6% despite a 3.3% decline in full year profit.

All three major equity indexes on Wall Street fell overnight, but futures were pointing to a stronger opening on Tuesday. Other regional equity markets also traded higher after the U.S. central bank on Monday announced a number of measures to help ease the economic impact of the coronavirus, including a willingness to buy unlimited bonds and more credit facilities to support new bond and loan issuances. The measures are over and above two unscheduled rate cuts it had announced earlier this month.

The Fed's steps come along similar moves by other major central banks, as authorities step up efforts to stem economic damage from the fast-spreading virus. Several governments across the world are asking people to stay home to contain the outbreak, bringing economic activity to a halt.

There have so far been about 350,000 confirmed cases of people infected by the new coronavirus across the globe, and over 16,000 fatalities.

"The risk is still here," said Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International, adding that despite the Fed's unlimited quantitative easing, money may not flow into Asia yet. "We need coordinated action, with monetary and fiscal policies joining hands to see an effect. So far, we see one absent."

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index added 2.3%, while the yuan traded onshore edged 0.2% higher against the dollar to 7.0749.

China National Building Material climbed 8% in Hong Kong after reporting a 38.4% jump in 2019 net profit and a 15.7% increase in revenue.

China Feihe jumped 9.1% after the infant formula maker reported a 75% surge in net profit for the year ended Dec. 31. Revenue rose 32%.

Lighting products maker NVC International surged 28.3% after saying it expects to report a net profit of 3.15 billion yuan ($443.7 million) to 3.25 billion yuan for 2019, compared with a loss of 327.6 million yuan a year ago.

Instant-noodles maker Tingyi Holding climbed 9% following a 35.2% increase in 2019 net profit.

-- Benny Kung

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