November 19, 2019 / 9:15 AM / a month ago

HK shares end at 1-week high on stimulus prospects, Alibaba boost

Nov 19 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks on Tuesday closed at a one-week high as China central bank’s rate cut stoked hopes that Beijing is keen to stem an economic slowdown with stimulus measures, while strong demand ahead of Alibaba’s listing boosted sentiment.

** The Hang Seng index was up 1.6% at 27,093.80, its highest close since November 8. The China Enterprises Index closed 1.3% higher at 10,696.56 points.

** Sentiment across global equities got a lift after China’s central bank unexpectedly trimmed a closely watched money market funding rate on Monday, the first such cut in more than four years and a signal to markets that policymakers are ready to act to prop up slowing growth.

** The cut in the seven-day reverse repurchase rate to 2.50% from 2.55% fuelled expectations that Beijing will continue to ease monetary policies and unveil fresh fiscal stimulus. ** Investors were also encouraged that Alibaba’s mega listing was not affected by the deepening political crisis in Hong Kong. Alibaba will stop taking orders from prospective institutional investors for its $13.4 billion secondary listing in Hong Kong earlier than expected after attracting strong demand, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

** The listing is part of a year-end equity market rush which also includes the IPO of Saudi oil giant Aramco. Alibaba’s stock is due to start trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on November 26, according to a prospectus lodged with New York regulators.

** A lack of clarity on progress in the Sino-U.S. trade negotiations, however, kept global investors on the edge. Most traders were awaiting clearer news on the trade front.

** Overnight, CNBC had reported the mood in Beijing was pessimistic about the prospects of sealing an agreement. On the other hand, a new extension allowing U.S. companies to keep doing business with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei suggested something of an olive branch.

** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped %, while the IT sector rose 1.24%, the financial sector ended 1.39% higher and the property sector rose 2.05%. ** The top gainer in the Hang Seng was AAC Technologies Holdings Inc, which gained 6.1%, while the biggest loser was China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd, which closed 0.52% lower. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.58%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.53%. ** The yuan was quoted at 7.0248 per U.S. dollar at 0840 GMT, 0.01% firmer than the previous close of 7.0255. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Want Want China Holdings Ltd up 4.54%, followed by CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, gaining 3.65% and Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd , up by 3.13%. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Citic Bank Corp Ltd, which ended down 1.09%, China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd, which closed 0.52% lower and CNOOC Ltd, down by 0.33%. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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