Hong Kong stocks end a volatile 2016 roughly flat


(L-R) The Hong Kong Exchanges flag, Chinese national flag and Hong Kong flag are hoisted outside the Hong Kong Stocks Exchange in Hong Kong. Reuters

SHANGHAI: Hong Kong shares rose around 1 percent on Friday, but the main indexes ended 2016 near where they started after a volatile 12 months, punctuated by Britain's vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump's triumph in the U.S. presidential election.

On the last trading session of the year, the Hang Seng index added 1.0 percent, to 22,000.56 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.9 percent, to 9,394.87.

All sectors in Hong Kong gained ground on Friday, with the raw materials and services sectors among the best performers.

But for 2016, the indexes were roughly flat.

The market suffered a brutal start to the year due to fears that global economy might slip into recession.

With investors seeking healthy dividends, a subsequent recovery gathered momentum until Britain's unexpected vote in June to leave the EU briefly upset markets.

Once the Brexit shock faded, the market reumed its uptrend, only to finally run out of steam after Trump's surprise victory in November, which boosted the U.S. dollar against its Hong Kong counterpart and other Asian currencies.

Shen Weizheng, Shanghai-based fund manager at Ivy Capital, said next year would be very unpredictable for the Hong Kong market, with much depending on whether Chinese investors will step up buying Hong Kong shares via the recently-expanded cross-border investment schemes between the two markets. - Reuters

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