August 2, 2017 / 5:24 AM / 2 years ago

China, Hong Kong shares lifted by strong materials, Apple buoys techs

* SSEC +0.1 pct, CSI300 flat, HSI +0.5 pct

SHANGHAI, Aug 2(Reuters) - Strength in building materials companies benefiting from China’s year-long construction boom lifted share markets in China and Hong Kong on Wednesday, while robust earnings from Apple buoyed tech shares.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was little changed at 3,769.76 points by the midday break, while the Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent to 3,294.41, its highest since November 2016.

An index tracking materials stocks rose 2.2 percent to nearly two-year highs. It has surged nearly 30 percent so far this year as the building frenzy in China spurs demand and prices for products from cement to steel.

“It’s still too early to forecast the end of the bull run in cyclicals, in particular material firms, although there could be strong resistance around the 3,300 level” for the SSEC, said Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune Securities.

Halfway through the latest corporate earnings reporting season, investors continued to favour main board firms, while shunning small-caps with unclear growth prospects.

According to first-half earnings forecasts and reports already published by listed companies, main board firms recorded strong profit growth in the first half, while growth at start-up firms slackened from the first quarter and was seen declining, Guosen Securities wrote in a report.

Fangda Carbon New Material shot up by its maximum allowed 10 percent. The firm, which forecast a more than 2,600 percent increase in first-half profit due to rising product prices, has rocketed 267 percent this year.

Apart from materials shares, Hong Kong stocks were also lifted as Apple’s strong results boosted component makers globally.

The Hang Seng index added 0.5 percent to 27,667.39, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.6 percent to 11,085.34.

Most sectors gained, with materials rising 1.6 percent and an index tracking information technology up 0.8 percent.

China’s largest contract chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp was up 1 percent. ($1 = 6.7261 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Lisa Twaronite and Kim Coghill

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