Thursday, November 30, 2023

Hong Kong stocks jump as yuan hits 4-month high, Baidu to aid earnings outlook

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Hong Kong stocks rose for a second day, led by Chinese technology and property developers, after the People’s Bank of China strengthened the yuan reference rate, lifting the currency to a four-month high.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.9 per cent to 17,933.27 as of 10.55am, while the Tech Index gained 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 per cent.

Alibaba Group advanced 3.9 per cent to HK$77.30 and Tencent climbed 1.8 per cent to HK$332.60. Baidu jumped 5.5 per cent to HK$110.20, with analysts forecasting its earnings report today that may show a 6.6 per cent increase last quarter.

Longfor led gains among home builders with a 9.2 per cent surge to HK$14.22 while China Overseas Land and Investment rallied 5.5 per cent to HK$15.47.

The yuan appreciated 0.4 per cent to 7.1388 against the US dollar, its sixth straight day gain. The central bank set the daily reference at 7.1406, compared with expectations of 7.1682 among traders in a Bloomberg survey. The yuan had slumped last month to a 16-year low.

Local stocks have stabilised as China’s economic recovery gained traction and forecasters see an imminent end to the Federal Reserve’s policy tightening drive after US inflation cooled last month. A meeting between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden last week also helped ease geopolitical tensions.

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About 30 Hang Seng Index members have released their third-quarter results, posting an average of 7.5 per cent year-on-year earnings growth, according to Bloomberg data. That compares with a 7.7 per cent growth in first-half earnings. Chinese search engine operator Baidu and travel operator will report later today.

In Shanghai, liquor giant Kweichow Moutai surged 1 per cent to 1,781.66 yuan after proposing to pay a special dividend totalling 24 billion yuan (US$3.4 billion).

Major Asian markets were mixed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 per cent, while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2 per cent.

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