October 18, 2018 / 9:31 AM / 10 months ago

Hong Kong stocks steady despite slump in energy sector

* HSI pct flat, but energy dipped as much as 3 pct

* H-share index down 0.6 pct

* Limited room for recovery as investors worry about China

By Noah Sin

Oct 18 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks clawed back to end flat, after early losses and on pressure from a tepid energy sector. However, risks from the mainland stocks continue to hang over the local market, limiting the room for rebound.

** The city’s main Hang Seng index ended at 25,454.55, losing just 0.03 pct. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index ended 0.6 percent lower at 10,198.33. ** The indices were weighed down by energy companies, which are pressured by rising oil prices. The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped as much as 3 percent, before closing at 2.4 percent. ** China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, which was down 4.27 percent, was the biggest loser on the Hang Seng and among H-shares.

** While there is little optimism, investors are not keen to sell more shares after the rapid decline in recent weeks, leaving Hong Kong stocks in limbo on Thursday, said Ben Kwong, Head of Research at KGI Asia.

** “There have been a lot of negative news recently, and that is reflected in stock prices,” he said. “But at the same time, there are not a lot of reasons for stocks to rebound. A-shares are not doing well, and there are still uncertainties [with U.S. trade policy] before the mid-term elections.”

** The sub indices tracking the IT sector dipped 0.21 percent, while the financial sector was 0.1 percent lower and property sector rose 0.94 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.37 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 0.8 percent lower. ** As of previous trading session, the Hang Seng index was down 14.9 percent this year. As of previous close, the Hang Seng has declined 8.4 percent this month. ** The top gainer was Link Real Estate Investment Trust , which was up 3.22 percent.

** The top gainers among H-shares were China Gas Holdings Ltd up 3.23 percent, followed by People’s Insurance Group of China Co Ltd, gaining 3.01 percent and PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd, up by 2.41 percent. ** Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd, which fell 3.4 percent and Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd, down by 2.9 percent, were the second and third worst performers among H-shares, after China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.

Reporting by Noah Sin

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