Hong Kong shares post first gain this week as geopolitical woes ease
HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares snapped a three-day losing streak to close higher on Thursday, helped by a rally in index heavyweight Tencent Holdings, and as investors looked past recent geopolitical concerns.
The Hang Seng Index rose 1% to 24,056.98, mirroring a rebound in most other Asian markets, after days of declines stemming from risks surrounding North Korea. The Nikkei Asia300 index rose 0.6% and U.S. index futures pointed to a higher opening on Wall Street.
Safe-have assets retreated, with gold prices sliding 0.8% overnight and U.S. Treasury yields rising two basis points Wednesday. Prices of the yellow metal have risen this month and U.S. 10-year Treasury yields have fallen as investors flocked to safety after U.S. missile strikes in Syria were followed by rising military tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
"Geopolitical worries have been pushed to the background today as you can see from the fall in gold. Also, we may be close to the end of the corrective phase for the Hang Seng index," said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities. "In times of market volatility and a bit of uncertainty, we see investors switching to quality stocks and this is helping the Tencent rally."
Tencent Holdings was the biggest contributor to the advance on the 50-stock gauge, climbing 2.8% to lifetime highs. The day's gains come despite the Internet giant's plans to shut down a popular feature on its WeChat platform that allows iPhone users to tip content creators.
Turnover on the main bourse stood at HK$67.7 billion, below this month's average of HK$75.8 billion, which Yip said needs to "pick up" for Thursday's advance to be sustainable.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.7%, outperforming mainland markets. New China Life Insurance led the gains on the gauge, rising 3.5%. The Shanghai Composite added less than 0.1%, its first gain in five sessions, and its Shenzhen counterpart slipped 0.2%.
Geely Automobile climbed 3.2%, adding to yesterday's 6.4% rally after at least one analyst called the recent correction in the automaker's stock overdone. Sun Hung Kai Properties added 1%. The stock is still down 1.7% for the week.
Offshore oil company CNOOC fell 0.5%, weighed down by a recent slide in oil prices. U.S. crude oil prices, which fell 3.8% overnight, were last up 0.7%. PetroChina ended unchanged at HK$5.56 after falling as much as 1.4% earlier.
Freeman FinTech Corp. rose 2% after saying it expects to record a net profit of about HK$422 million ($54.3 million) for the year ended March 31, 2017, compared with a loss in the previous year.
Datang International Power Generation advanced 2.2% after saying late Wednesday that total power generation for the March quarter rose 23%.
ZTE surged 6.3% in Hong Kong. The telecom-equipment maker appointed the head of its U.S. operations Cheng Lixin as president of its mobile devices business, Reuters reported. Trading in the company's A-shares is halted pending an announcement related to a stock incentive plan.
Orient Securities rose 0.8% after reporting a two-fold increase in net profit for the first quarter.
Livzon Pharmaceutical jumped 5.6% after it signed an agreement to sell interests in a subsidiary for 4.6 billion yuan ($660.7 million). The sale is expected to increase Livzon's net profit by 3.45 billion yuan.
Huadian Fuxin Energy rose 0.6%, in line with broad market gains. Singapore's GIC Private sold 12.4 million shares in the company, trimming its stake to 5.63%.
Midas International Holdings rose 3.9% to HK$0.265 after declaring a special dividend of HK$0.01 a share.
Chinese conglomerate LeEco is in talks to sell a property in Beijing it bought in a $420 million-deal last year, Reuters reported, citing sources. Trading in its unit Leshi Internet Information & Technology has been halted in Shenzhen since Monday.
China Soft Power Technology plunged 15.5% despite saying late Wednesday that it expects to record a "significant decrease" in net loss for the year ended March 31, due to a smaller impairment loss from available-for-sale equity investments.
-- Nimesh Vora
--Nikkei Markets is a real-time financial news service for South East Asia's markets published by Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd, a Nikkei and NewsRise joint venture company. Nikkei Markets provides wide companies coverage in the region, including the Nikkei's Asia300 companies.