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Stocks

Chinese energy majors lift Hong Kong stocks by midday

HONG KONG (NewsRise) -- Hong Kong shares rose the most in a week, helped by a rally in state-owned oil-and-gas companies and yet another advance by U.S. stocks to record highs.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.6% to 22,581.41 by the midday break. China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) added 3.9% to HK$5.84 after Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that the company is reviving an initial public offering of its retailing business that could raise up to $10 billion. Index heavyweights HSBC Holdings and Tencent Holdings rose at least 1.5%, spurred by gains for financial and technology companies overnight on Wall Street.

"The rally in crude prices in light of the output cut agreement is probably lending to a rotational bias towards energy stocks," said Ben Kwong, an executive director at KGI Asia. "(Sinopec's) asset disposal news earlier this week has also helped sentiment."

Sinopec on Monday announced the sale of a 50% stake in its Sichuan-East China gas pipeline to China Life Insurance and State Development & Investment, fueling speculation of other similar deals in the energy sector as state-run firms seek to improve their return on investments. PetroChina climbed 3.5% to HK$5.96, adding to its 5.3% jump on Tuesday.

U.S. crude oil prices rose for a fourth straight day on Tuesday, before sliding more than 1.2% during Asian trading hours on Wednesday.

U.S. equities have led global markets higher over the past few weeks as investors pin hopes on President-elect Donald Trump to boost growth in the world's largest economy through various fiscal stimulatory measures including tax cuts. Hong Kong and Chinese shares have been less upbeat over the past few sessions as investors consider restrictions by mainland authorities and the path of U.S.-China relations under the Trump administration.

The Shanghai Composite was little changed at 3,157.06 at the break on Wednesday, coming off early declines. The yuan traded onshore slipped 0.1% to 6.9048 to a U.S. dollar. The Nikkei Asia300 Index gained 0.2% to 1,057.17.

Air China climbed 0.4% to HK$5.12 after saying its November passenger traffic grew 8.7% to 7.7 million from a year earlier.

HK Electric Investments slipped 0.3% to HK$6.73 after the power utility said Tuesday it will offer customers a rebate from January that is equivalent to a 17.2% reduction in tariffs. Shares of rival CLP Holdings, which said it will freeze 2017 tariffs, gained 0.9%.

Lenovo Group advanced 0.4% to HK$4.79 after announcing an agreement with Via Licensing to grant the personal-computer maker use of some of the latter's patented technology.

-- V. Phani Kumar and Nimesh Vora

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