Thursday, March 06, 2008

Hang Seng Index hits 3-week low on Wednesday

On Wednesday, Hong Kong stocks fell to the lowest level since February 11. Hang Seng Index, the benchmark, opened slightly lower at 23,066.64 points in the morning session. After fluctuating between 22,873.31 and 23,268.45 points, the blue-chip Hang Seng Index closed at 23,114.34, edged down 5.53 points, or 0.02% over the previous trading day. Mainboard turnover shrank to a HK$79.8 billion (US$10.2 billion), compared with HK$84.12 billion (US$10.78 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, further weakened 124.26 points or 0.96% to 12,847.95 points.

Chinese telecoms operators were the biggest winners as bargain-hunting investors opted to buy into China's telecoms shares amid industry restructuring expectations. China Mobile<941>, the country's largest mobile phone operator, recovered 0.53% to HK$114.4. China Unicom<600050><762>, soared 7.46% to HK$17. China Telecom<728>, the country's largest fixed-line telephone company, gained 2.52% to HK$5.7. China Netcom<906> stormed 6.18% to HK$24.05.

Local property stocks performed mixed yesterday. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd<16>, the largest house developer in Hong Kong, lost 0.15% to HK$130.1. Henderson Land Development Company Ltd<12> fell 1.89% to HK$57.0. Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited<1>, one of Hong Kong's largest real-estate developer owned by business giant Li Ka Shing, rebounded 0.89% to HK$113.5. Sino Land Company Ltd<83> added 0.95% to HK$19.12.

The financial sectors also headed towards different directions. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China<601398><1398>, the largest lender in the country, remained unchanged at HK$5.20. China Construction Bank<601939><939>, the third-largest bank by market value, dropped slightly 0.71% to HK$5.63. Bank of China<601988><3988>, the second-largest bank, gained 0.31% to HK$3.19. Bank of Communications<601328><3328> skidded 1.13% to HK$8.78, despite its shareholder, market heavyweight HSBC Holdings Plc<5>, outperforming further by adding 0.25% to HK$120.7.

China Life<601628><2628>, the country's largest life insurer, fell 1.21% to HK$28.65. Ping An Insurance (Group) Co<601318><2318> rebounded 0.71% to HK$56.4. PICC P&C<2328> edged up 0.38% to HK$7.96.

Cathay Pacific Airways<293>, Hong Kong's largest airline, jumped 0.7% to HK$16.32 after it posted a 72% increase in 2007 net profit.

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