Hong Kong stocks climb to four-week high as Alibaba, JD.com drive tech rally while CNOOC surges on big dividend plan

  • Ten of the biggest tech winners advance by more than 3.8 per cent as investors rush back into market while CNOOC surges on dividend payout plan
  • Consumer inflation and factory-gate prices rose in December at slower than economists’ forecast, the statistic bureau reports on Wednesday

Hong Kong stocks rose to the highest level in more than four weeks following a surge in Chinese technology companies. A government report showed inflation in December was slower than expected, creating room for further policy easing.

The Hang Seng Index rose 2.1 per cent to 24,241.15 at the local noon trading break, a level not seen since December 13. The Tech Index soared 3.9 per cent, on course for the biggest advance in five weeks. China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4 per cent.

Alibaba added 4.7 per cent while its health unit gained 1.4 per cent. JD.com jumped 9.9 per cent while Meituan climbed 9.3 per cent and NetEase strengthened 5.3 per cent.

“The valuation of tech stocks like JD.com is not demanding,” said Stanley Chan, research director at Emperor Capital. “When market sentiment stabilises, funds that are underweight on such stocks will accumulate more.”

Producer prices in China rose 10.3 per cent in December from a year earlier, compared to 12.9 per cent in November, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday. Consumer prices rose 1.5 per cent, versus 2.3 per cent in November. Both were slower than consensus among economists.

“We expect the worst for growth in this downturn to take place in spring 2022, when the pain threshold will also likely be reached,” Nomura strategists said in their outlook report this month. “We do not view inflation as a barrier to Beijing launching more supportive policy easing and stimulus measures in 2022.”

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, on Tuesday called for efforts to stabilise trade amid growing risks to economic growth. The government said earlier this week that it would boost investments in key national projects and domestic consumption.

“China’s policy cycle is that of outright easing and will be the key driver to recovery,” Morgan Stanley said in a report published on Monday. Officials have affirmed they will continue to take action to stem the economic downturn, the report said.

Elsewhere, CNOOC jumped as much as 11 per cent in the stock’s biggest gain since November 2020. The state-controlled oil explorer said it will pay at least 40 per cent of its earnings as dividends, according to its 2022-2024 business strategy unveiled on late Tuesday. It plans to pay a 20th anniversary special dividend on top of regular 2021 dividend.

Two firms started trading for the first time on the mainland. Circuit chip manufacturer Triductor Technology (Suzhou) soared 28 per cent, while materials producer SICC Co rose 5.3 per cent.

Major Asia-Pacific markets advanced, taking cues from rebounds in US markets. Shares in Japan rose 1.9 per cent, while Australian and South Korean equities climbed by 0.7 to 1.4 per cent.

Author: Cheryl Heng, SCMP

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