November 30, 2018 / 8:59 AM / 16 days ago

Hong Kong stocks end higher; energy shares lead gains

* .HSI +0.2 pct, .HSCE +0.4 pct

* Energy sector rallies as oil price rises

* Local market upbeat on potentially slower U.S. rate hikes

By Noah Sin

HONG KONG, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Stocks in Hong Kong ended higher on Friday as energy stocks, driven by news that oil-producing nations are set to trim supplies, helped lift the market. Expectations of slower interest rate hikes in the United States boosted sentiment, offsetting worries about the Sino-U.S. trade friction for now.

** The Hang Seng index was up 0.2 percent at 26,506.75 on Friday, and gained 2.2 percent for the week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.4 percent to 10,621.74 on Friday, and was up 2.2 percent for the week. ** Energy companies led the gains on the local bourse due to the rise in oil prices. The gains came after Reuters reported OPEC and Russia are moving closer to a deal on cutting production. Expanding supply from the United States also helped. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.8 percent. CNOOC Ltd, a Chinese energy company that gained 3.7 percent, was the highest percentage gainer on the Hang Seng and among H-shares on Friday. ** The second- and third-largest H-share percentage gainers were China Resources Land Ltd, ending 2.7 percent firmer, and Huaneng Power International Inc, closing up 1.9 percent. ** Investors in global markets are keeping a close eye on the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Argentina on Saturday. But the Hong Kong market took a brief break from worrying about the trade war on Friday, said Steven Leung, director of sales at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong. ** “You can’t really read anything from that,” Leung said regarding Trump’s comments. “Rather, what Powell said was more meaningful. Hong Kong is very rate-sensitive. That’s also why recently Hong Kong has not really been tracking China in recent sessions.” ** U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that the central bank’s policy rate is now “just below” estimates of a level that neither brakes nor boosts a healthy U.S. economy, comments that many investors read as signalling the Fed’s three-year tightening cycle is drawing to a close. ** China’s A-share market ended higher on Friday, aided by expectations of policy support should the G20 trade talks collapse. But trading volume was thin as investors sought to avoid shocks from the summit. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.4 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 0.4 percent higher. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.9447 per U.S. dollar at 0830 GMT, 0.04 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.9422. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co Ltd, which closed down 2.6 percent, GF Securities Co Ltd, which ended 1.7 percent lower, and China Communications Construction Co Ltd, which ended down 1.6 percent. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 16.04 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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