Hong Kong stocks climb to 6-week high

Hong Kong’s equity gauge rose 1.8% as lenders and property developers account for most of its top performers. (AFP pic)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong stocks jumped on Wednesday, with banks and developers propelling the Hang Seng Index to a six-week high.

The equity gauge rose 1.8% as lenders and property developers accounted for most of the top performers.

Hang Seng Bank and Wharf Real Estate Investment led with gains of at least 4.5%. A gauge of property stocks rose 2.5%.

Traders had earlier attributed the rally to speculation the Hong Kong government would announce measures related to land policy, as well as a report attributed to the South China Morning Post on an imminent announcement.

The newspaper later said the report was false, while a spokesman for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s office said there were no plans to address the press today.

Oriano Lizza, sales trader at CMC Markets in Singapore pointed to a recent tweet by a closely-watched newspaper editor that said China will implement measures to ease the impact of the trade war.

The comment “makes me think there could be a bigger stimulus or quantitative easing in the system,” Lizza said.

Hong Kong shares have tumbled in recent months as China and the US fight a trade war and street protests rattle the city.

The unrest has continued despite Lam’s move to scrap controversial extradition legislation.

Sun Hung Kai Properties, the city’s biggest developer, is offering new homes at a discount.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 1.6%.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.4%, with investors seen to take profit ahead of a holiday on the mainland.

Beijing announced a range of US goods to be exempted from 25% extra tariffs put in place last year.

The government is seeking to ease the impact from the trade war without lifting charges on major agricultural items like soybeans and pork.