December 18, 2019 / 8:57 AM / a month ago

Hong Kong shares touch 4-1/2-month high on trade deal hopes, caution lingers

* Hang Seng up 0.2%, H-shares rise 0.5%

* Trump adviser insists deal ‘done’ as China sounds cautious

* $5 bln exit Hong Kong funds amid unrest- Bank of England

HONG KONG, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Stocks in Hong Kong hit their highest level since late July on Wednesday amid expectation of a ‘phase one’ trade deal between Beijing and Washington, but pared gains as investors awaited further details. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 0.2% to 27,884.21, off its earlier peak - the highest level since late July. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index was up 0.5%. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.6%, the IT sector was up 0.5%, the financial sector was flat, and the property sector fell 0.2%. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was CNOOC Ltd, which gained 3.5%, while the biggest loser was WH Group Ltd , which fell 3.8%. ** Top White House adviser Larry Kudlow said on Monday that a so-called “phase-one” trade deal between the United States and China had been “absolutely completed”, and that U.S. exports to China would double under the agreement. ** However, Chinese officials earlier said the dispute had not been completely settled. ** Unrest in Hong Kong has led to as much as $5 billion of capital outflows from investment funds since April, the Bank of England said. ** The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s central bank, argued this did not necessarily mean the money had left the city’s banking system. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index and the blue-chip CSI300 index both ended down 0.2%, snapping three straight sessions of gains. ** MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.1%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.6%. ** About 1.84 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.93 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 26.24% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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