October 13, 2017 / 8:29 AM / a year ago

Hong Kong stocks mark time ahead of China congress

Oct 13 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks ended marginally higher on Friday and ended the week little changed as investors grew cautious ahead of China’s Communist Party Congress, which will feature a major leadership reshuffle and the setting of key policy priorities for the next five years.

The Hang Seng index rose 0.1 percent to 28,476.43 points, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 percent to 11,519.81.

Both indexes were roughly flat for the week.

President Xi Jinping is expected to consolidate his power for a second five-year term at the party congress, which begins on Oct. 18.

“A common view is that this would be good for China’s economy since Xi would then find it easier to push through difficult reforms in the face of vested interests,” Capital Economics said in a note this week.

But, it added the government’s current reform agenda does little to address deep structural problems such as persistent state life support for loss-making “zombie” companies and the risks from a rapid build-up in debt.

Investors were unfazed by upbeat China trade data, which showed import and export growth accelerated in September, suggesting the country is still expanding at a healthy pace despite widespread forecasts of an eventual slowdown.

Sector performance was mixed, with property shares falling, but resources stocks posting solid gains.

Consumer plays were also firm.

Tsingtao Brewery Co’s Hong Kong-traded shares jumped 4.3 percent despite news on Thursday that major shareholder Asahi plans to sell part of all of its stake. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom)

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