China tech stocks buoyed by Hang Seng overhaul plans

HONG KONG, March 2 (AFP): Chinese tech stocks rallied in Hong Kong on Tuesday after officials announced the biggest overhaul of the city's stock index for more than 50 years to make it less stuffed with traditional banks and insurers, a move that will give more weighting to mainland firms.

Hang Seng Indexes unveiled a wide-ranging overhaul of its eponymous gauge on Monday, including increasing the number of constituents from 52 to 80 and limiting a stock's weighting to eight percent.

It also said it would shorten the listing history requirement for a company to be included into the gauge to three months.

The moves, expected to come into force next year, will impact tens of billions of dollars on the world's fourth-largest stock market.

The announcement was welcome news to mainland tech giants, who have increasingly chosen to list in Hong Kong -- with several billion raised in initial public offerings last year -- especially as trade tensions between Beijing and Washington have surged.

Under the new rules such firms that are secondary-listed or carry unequal voting rights will no longer be limited to give percent weightings.

Electronics giant Xiaomi jumped 2.5 percent in afternoon trade, e-commerce platforms Meituan and were up two percent and 2.8 percent respectively and video app Kuaishou jumped more than five percent.

"The valuation of the index will be pushed higher as more new economy stocks are expected to join under the changes," Dickie Wong, executive director of research at Kingston Securities told Bloomberg.

"This could also make the index more volatile."

Thanks to its long held status as a regional finance hub, Hong Kong's stock exchange has been dominated by banks and insurers, many of whom fell on Tuesday on news of the changes.

"The biggest losers probably would be in the finance or banking sectors, as they are the heaviest constituent stocks in the Hang Seng index now," Edison Pun, senior market analyst at Saxo Markets Hong Kong told Bloomberg News.

"With the adjustment, their importance would be greatly reduced." - AFP
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