The Hong Kong stock market turned emphatically back to the upside again on Friday, one session after it had ended the five-day winning streak in which it had risen more than 920 points or 4.7 percent. The Hang Seng Index closed just below the 20,630-point plateau, and now traders are expecting continued upside when the market opens on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild support following positive economic news out of the United States, although the upside may be limited by profit taking following solid gains in the previous session. The markets may continue to benefit from the Federal Reserve's announcement Thursday of additional quantitative easing. Also adding support were better than expected figures on retail sales and consumer sentiment. The European and U.S. markets were higher and the Asian bourses are tipped to open in similar fashion.
The Hang Seng finished sharply higher on Friday following gains from the property stocks and resource shares.
For the day, the index surged 582.15 points or 2.90 percent to finish at 20,629.78 after trading between 20,475.74 and 20,648.10 on volume of 79.15 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Among the gainers, Zhaojin Mining surged 15.5 percent, while Zijin Mining spiked 11.4 percent, Luk Fook climbed 12.5 percent, China Coal Energy soared 7.6 percent, Chalco jumped 9.1 percent, CNOOC collected 4.8 percent and Sun Hung Kai Proprieties added 4.4 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks were up again on Friday after moving sharply higher over the course of the previous session. The support followed Thursday's announcement from the Federal Reserve of its decision to provide further economic stimulus by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month.
Looking ahead, the Fed said it would continue its purchases of mortgage-backed securities until the outlook for the labor market improves substantially. The central bank also left interest rates at near-zero levels and said exceptionally low rates are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015.
Traders were also presented with a slew of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing slightly stronger than expected retail sales growth amid a jump in gas prices. Retail sales rose 0.9 percent in August following a downwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in July. Economists had expected the sales growth to match the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
A separate report from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan showed that consumer sentiment has unexpectedly climbed in September. The consumer sentiment index jumped to 79.2 from the final August reading of 74.3. Economists had expected the index to edge down to a reading of 73.5.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve reported a steeper than expected drop in industrial production in August, with Hurricane Isaac restraining output in the Gulf Coast region. Industrial production tumbled 1.2 percent in August following a downwardly revised 0.5 percent increase in July. Economists had expected a 0.1 percent decline.
The major U.S. averages were up on Friday, although off their best levels of the session. The Dow rose 53.51 points or 0.4 percent to finish at 13,593.37, while the NASDAQ jumped 28.12 points or 0.9 percent to end at 3,183.95 and the S&P 500 climbed 5.78 points or 0.4 percent to close at 1,465.77. With the gains, the major averages moved sharply higher for the week, reaching new multi-year highs. The Dow rose by 2.2 percent, while the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 advanced by 1.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
In economic news, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on Friday demanded banks to toughen mortgage lending in order to limit the rising risk to Hong Kong property market from the U.S. Federal Reserve's aggressive stimulus program. The maximum term of new home mortgages is limited to 30 years from 40 years, HKMA chief executive Norman Chan said. Also, central bank chief ordered banks to tighten rules for second time property buyers.
by RTT Staff Writer
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