Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gains as bargain hunters swoop in on hard-beaten technology stocks


Hong Kong’s benchmark stock index made its biggest intraday percentage jump in a month as investors scooped up technology stocks that have fallen to attractive levels, while casinos extended their slumps.

The Hang Seng Index rose by as much as 1.6 per cent, or 382.40 points, to an intraday high of 23,857.66, breaking a three-day losing streak even as worries of the new Omicron strain whipsawed global markets. The city’s tech gauge gained 1.1 per cent. The Hang Seng China Enterprise Index, which tracks the performance of China-based companies, advanced by 1.8 per cent to an intraday high of 8,520.90.

Gains in Hong Kong were led by Chinese technology juggernauts. Food delivery platform operator Meituan rose from its one-month low, jumping as much as 4.6 per cent to HK$247.20. Tencent Holdings, the largest Chinese technology stock by value, climbed by 2.2 per cent to HK$469.60.

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“The Hang Seng Index has been falling in the past two weeks, way before global markets sold [on the Omicron variant],” said Kenny Tang, managing partner at the asset management firm Venture Smart Asia. “It has already reflected the negative sentiment seen in global markets, thus the index is seeing slight rebound today.”

“The attractive prices of technology stocks have also gained interest of bargain hunters, although the performance across the sector will differ,” Tang said. “Some like Alibaba are still under pressure, while JD.com should entice investors.”

Alibaba Group Holding, the owner of this newspaper, dropped for the second day this week, falling 1.5 per cent to HK$125.40 at the lunch trading pause, while e-commerce giant JD.com rose 0.3 per cent to HK$340.80.

The gambling hall inside the Grand Lisboa casino in Macau on 20 February 2020. Photo: Handout

Casino stocks fell, as the crackdown on Macau’s biggest junket operator intensified. Galaxy Entertainment Group, one of the city’s six casino concessionaires, fell 3.9 per cent to HK$42.50. Sands China Limited, the Macau gambling arm of the Las Vegas brand, dropped by 3.4 per cent to HK$17.90. Wynn Macau Limited plunged for the fourth consecutive day, declining 7 per cent to HK$6.46.

Trading was halted in Macau’s biggest junket operator Suncity Group Holdings the second time this week. The company has shut all VIP gaming rooms in Macau which would cut a third of its staff based in the city, according to Reuters. Suncity, which brings in high rollers to gamble in casinos, had its stock first suspended on Monday following the weekend arrest of its chairman Alvin Chau for soliciting gambling in mainland China, where the activity is outlawed. Chau could not be reached fore comment.

Suncity Group’s chief executive Alvin Chau during an event in Macau on November 29, 2020. Photo: AP

China’s stock indexes were down, after the Caixin/Markit manufacturing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 49.9 in November, from 53.8 the previous month. The Caixin/Markit PMI focuses more on small, private firms.

Its figures were released on Wednesday, a contrast to the official manufacturing PMI released a day earlier revealed growth in the sector. The official index tracks larger, state-owned companies.

The CSI300 Index, which tracks the performance of stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen, rose as much as 0.2 per cent, to 4,843.59. The Shanghai Composite Index, climbed as much as 0.2 per cent to 3,572.61. Bucking the trend is the Shenzhen Composite Index’s retreat of 0.1 per cent to 2,516.34.

Chinese vice-premier Liu He, seen as President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, said China’s economy has continued to recover this year as employment and prices were maintained, according to his speech made at the Hamburg Summit on Tuesday. He has full confidence in China’s economy next year, with its “dual circulation” strategy.

On the mainland, two companies started trading for the first time. Shanghai Prisemi Electronics, which produces and sells semiconductor devices, began trading at 199 yuan, a premium of 47.6 per cent to its initial public offering price of 134.81 yuan. Siglent Technologies, which makes digital oscilloscopes and other testing equipment in Shenzhen, more than doubled in its trading debut to 108 yuan, from its IPO price of 46.60 yuan on the Shanghai exchange.

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