Hong Kong stocks advance as developers get China boost while major tech leaders slip on earnings risk

  • Hang Seng swings between gains and losses amid growing concerns about a slump in Chinese tech earnings as the economy stumbles under Covid lockdowns
  • HSBC, Kuaishou and Hong Kong property developers are among early gainers

Hong Kong’s benchmark index rose as property stocks advanced after China urged lenders to speed up loans for companies to overcome a slump amid Covid-19 lockdowns. Alibaba Group and JD.com led most tech leaders lower on corporate earnings outlook.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.6 per cent to 20,240.98 at the local noon trading break. The gauge swung between gains and losses in early trading after losing 3 per cent over the preceding two days. The Tech Index added 0.7 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rebounded 0.6 per cent.

Country Garden and Henderson Land added 1.2 per cent as gains in 10 of the 12 members lifted the Hang Seng Properties Index up as much as 1.3 per cent. HSBC jumped 3.4 per cent to HK$51.10 while ICBC added 0.7 per cent to HK$4.67.

Top officials at the People’s Bank of China met with major lenders this week to review credit flows in the system, the central bank said in a statement on its website on Tuesday. Policymakers urged lenders to quicken loan approvals and maintain the stable supply of financing to the property sector, it added.

“The sentiment is quite divergent, there is one group [of investors] who welcome the [support] measures, while another remains concerned about the impact of zero-Covid policy,” said Mark Po, head of research at China Galaxy International Securities. “What we need is the direction for internet-platform operators. Bear in mind that we have a series of earnings announcements too.”

Chinese tech leaders slide, tracking an overnight slide in US peers as the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 2.3 per cent. More than US$462 billion of market value was lost after Snap Inc’s profit warning sparked a sell-off in social media stocks.

Alibaba Group Holding, the owner of this newspaper, slipped 1 per cent to HK$82.80. JD.com lost 0.9 per cent to HK$199.70 and Lenovo Group declined 2 per cent to HK$7.22. Baidu fell 1.7 per cent to HK$115.30 while Bilibili tumbled 1.9 per cent to HK$155.90.

Kuaishou, China’s second biggest short-video platform operator after ByteDance, surged 4.2 per cent to HK$66 after first-quarter revenue and earnings beat market consensus. It remains an outlier after report cards from Tencent and JD.com underwhelmed earlier this week.

Alibaba Health Information prepares to report its results today. Lenovo Group, Baidu and Alibaba will report on Thursday.

Major Asian markets rose on Wednesday. Japanese stocks gained 0.1 per cent, while South Korean and Australian shares strengthened at least 0.7 per cent.

Author: Cheryl Heng, SCMP

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