January 21, 2019 / 8:35 AM / 10 months ago

Hong Kong shares end higher, investors shrug off weak China GDP data

* Hang Seng index ends up 0.39 pct

* China Enterprises index HSCE rises 0.72 pct

Jan 21 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s main Hang Seng index crept higher on Monday as investors shrugged off data showing the Chinese economy slowed within market expectations in the fourth quarter of 2018, amid expectations that Beijing would roll out more stimulus to boost growth.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 0.39 percent at 27,196.54 points. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.72 percent to 10,713.05. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.6 percent, while the IT sector climbed 0.84 percent, the financial sector ended 0.26 percent higher and the property sector dipped 0.35 percent. ** China’s economic growth cooled slightly to 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, weighed down by weak investment, faltering consumer confidence and the trade war with the United States. While 2018 GDP growth of 6.6 percent was the weakest since 1990, growth figures were in line with market expectations. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd, which gained 5.44 percent, while the biggest loser was Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd, which fell 3.72 percent. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.56 percent at 2,610.51 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.55 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.15 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.26 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.7892 per U.S. dollar at 08:21 GMT, 0.14 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.7795. ** The top gainers among H-shares were China Tower Corp Ltd up 4.58 percent, followed by China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd, gaining 4.39 percent, and Postal Savings Bank of China Co Ltd, up by 3.1 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Guangdong Investment Ltd, which was down 4.74 percent, Air China Ltd, which fell 3.3 percent, and PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd, down by 2.9 percent. ** About 1.69 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 117 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 1.44 billion shares a day. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.75 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 17.65 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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