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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares edge higher with earnings in focus

Tencent recoups losses, while CK Hutchison and CK Asset climb after results

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares ended slightly higher after a choppy session on Friday, as investors perused earnings announcements from a clutch of blue chip companies.

The Hang Seng Index added 0.1% to 29,113.36 after changing direction a few times. For the week, it rose 0.3%. Internet services heavyweight Tencent Holdings rose 0.6% after shedding as much as 1.5% earlier following a 32% plunge in fourth-quarter profit.

Hong Kong-based ports-to-telecom conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings added 2.7% following an 11.1% increase in 2018 net profit and a 9.3% rise in revenue. Group company CK Asset Holdings climbed 1.5% after reporting a 33.2% jump in full-year profit.

China Mobile fell 1.4%, extending Thursday's 4.8% drop, after reporting a 0.5% decline in 2018 revenue and a 3.1% increase in profit.

PetroChina declined 2% despite a more than doubling of its 2018 profit and a 16.8% increase in revenue. CNOOC, which also said profit for its full year more than doubled, edged 0.6% higher. Brent crude futures fell 0.9% on Thursday.

The Hang Seng Index has risen 1.7% in March, with investors digesting reports that have already been released for the 2018 corporate earnings season. The gauge set nine-month highs more than once this week amid hopes of a resolution to U.S.-China trade tensions and as investors rolled back expectations of more rate increases in the U.S. The city's benchmark equity index is up more than 12% this year.

"The market is still doing OK as short-term uncertainties are resolved after the Federal Reserve meeting and results from several blue chips. The overall trend remains upward," said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities. "The first quarter's strengthening momentum could sustain into the second quarter."

Yip expects the index to fluctuate between 28,700 and 29,500 through the end of March.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1% higher on Friday, while the yuan traded onshore lost 0.2% against the dollar to 6.7054.

Li & Fung surged 13.1% in Hong Kong after the supply chain manager said its net loss for 2018 narrowed to $11 million from $375 million a year ago.

Chinese vehicle maker Dongfeng Motor Group rose 3.8% after saying it will enter into a partnership agreement with FAW Group, Chongqing Changan Automobile and others to establish a joint venture for ride-hailing and mobility services.

Chongqing Changan Automobile jumped by the maximum permissible 10% in Shenzhen.

Anhui Conch Cement edged 0.8% lower despite reporting an 88.1% surge in 2018 net profit and a 70.5% jump in revenue.

Sporting goods maker Li Ning jumped 11.4% after reporting a 39% surge in 2018 profit and an 18% increase in revenue.

Maanshan Iron & Steel added 2.8% following a 44% jump in 2018 net profit.

Gas distributor ENN Energy Holdings fell 3.1% after reporting 2018 profit of 2.82 billion yuan ($421.3 million), which was little changed from a year ago.

-- Carrie Chen

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