Friday, March 28, 2008

Hang Seng Index closes higher for 2nd day after holiday

Hong Kong stocks gained for the second day on Wednesday, boosted by strong annual reports of blue-chip financial companies.

Hang Seng Index, the benchmark, opened slightly higher at 22,581.75 points in the morning session. After fluctuating between 22,428.43 and 22,811.35 points, the blue-chip Hang Seng Index edged up 152.49 points, or 0.68% to close at 22,617.01. Mainboard turnover skidded at HK$89.91 billion (US$11.56 billion), compared with HK$100.6 billion (US$12.9 billion) on Tuesday.

Hang Seng China Enterprise Index, which tracks the overall performance of 43 Chinese mainland state-owned enterprises on Hong Kong Stock Exchange, finished up 133.22 points or 1.14% to 11,860.22 points.

The Chinese banks listed in Hong Kong were among the biggest winners yesterday. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China<601398> <1398>, the largest lender in the country, rose 2.88% to HK$5.35. Bank of China<601988><3988>, the second-largest bank, vaulted 1.85% to HK$3.30, the highest close in almost four weeks. China Construction Bank<601939><939> ended up 1.4% to HK$5.66. The third-largest bank in the nation is expected to announce its 2007 results on April 11. China Merchants Bank<600036><3968> surged 4.8% to HK$26. Market heavyweight HSBC Holdings Plc<5>, added 0.24% to HK$127.3.

Another market heavyweight, China Mobile<941>, the largest firm by capitalization in the Hong Kong market, edged up 0.71% to HK$113.3.

Among the property stocks, China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd<688>, a builder controlled by the country's construction ministry, advanced HK$1, or 7.9%, to HK$13.68, its highest close since March 6. Wharf<4>, the best-performing property stock this year in the Hang Seng Index, ended up 0.5%, to HK$37.95.

Taiwan-based snack maker Want Want China Holdings Ltd<151> slid in its Hong Kong debut. Its shares plunged to HK$2.29, below the HK$3 IPO price.

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