Bloomberg News

Hong Kong Stocks Rise on U.S. Jobless Claims; Commodities Gain

March 05, 2010

Hong Kong stocks rose for the first time in four day, led by commodities producers and exporters after a drop in U.S. jobless claims boosted optimism that the global economy is recovering.

Li & Fung Ltd. (494), the biggest supplier for retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., gained 2.2 percent. PetroChina Co. (857), China’s biggest oil company, gained 1.8 percent as crude climbed on speculation a recovery will boost demand for oil. Swire Pacific Ltd. (19), the parent of the biggest commercial landlord in eastern Hong Kong Island, climbed 1.4 percent after a unit returned to profit.

“Recent data in the U.S. including the jobless figures released last night have been quite positive,” said Conita Hung, head of equity markets at Delta Asia Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Investors are more confident toward the market.”

The Hang Seng Index (HSI) climbed 1 percent to close at 20,787.97, halting a three-day, 2.3 percent decline. The measure has risen 0.9 percent this week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI), which tracks so-called H shares of Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies, gained 1.3 percent to 11,927.37.

Shares on the Hang Seng Index were priced at an average 13.5 times estimated earnings, down from 18.1 times on Nov. 16 when the index closed at its highest level for 2009, according to Bloomberg data. Concerns over monetary tightening in China have contributed to a 9.4 percent drop in the stock benchmark from its November high.

Petrochina, Cnooc

PetroChina Co. surged 1.8 percent to HK$8.93, and Cnooc Ltd. (883), the Hong Kong-listed unit of China National Offshore Oil Corp., added 1.5 percent to HK$12.34.

PetroChina’s profitability will improve this year, Jiang Jiemin, the company’s chairman, said today outside of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. Cnooc is leading a consortium that may win development rights of Iraq’s 2.5 billion-barrel Missan oil-field complex, the Wall Street Journal said, citing an unidentified official familiar with the talks.

Crude oil rose, poised for the third weekly gain in four, on optimism fuel demand will increase amid improved prospects for an economic recovery in the U.S., the world’s biggest energy consumer. Oil for April delivery rose 0.6 percent to $80.65 a barrel in after-hours trading in New York.

Li & Fung

Li & Fung climbed 2.2 percent to HK$39.25. Esprit Holdings Ltd. (330), the biggest Hong Kong-traded clothier, increased 0.1 percent to HK$55.75.

The U.S. government said first-time jobless claims fell by 29,000 to 469,000 last week and productivity climbed at a 6.9 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, capping the biggest one-year gain since 2002.

Swire Pacific gained 1.4 percent to HK$89.30. Hang Lung Properties Ltd. (101), Hong Kong’s fourth-largest developer by market value, jumped 2.2 percent to HK$30.00. New World Development Ltd. (17), the Hong Kong developer controlled by billionaire Cheng Yu-tung, climbed 1.9 percent to HK$14.90.

Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd., a Swire unit, one of the biggest office landlords in the city’s financial hub, expects to see high occupancy levels and “steady rentals” this year as companies start to rehire amid a more optimistic economic outlook.

China Resources

China Resources Land dropped 0.9 percent to HK$16.28 ahead of its addition to the benchmark gauge. The company’s inclusion from March 8 will raise the number of stocks in the measure to 43 from 42, Hang Seng Indexes Co. said in an e-mailed statement on Feb. 5.

China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. rose 1.5 percent to HK$16.56, after the Securities Times newspaper said China won’t “specially limit” property loans, citing China Banking Regulatory Commission Chairman Liu Mingkang.

The amount of loans diverted to the stock and property markets “isn’t serious,” the Shenzhen-based newspaper cited Liu as saying. Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. (813), the Chinese developer controlled by billionaire Xu Rongmao, gained 1.3 percent to HK$13.78.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s largest lender by market value, and rival Bank of China Ltd. (3988) said they plan to slow lending in 2010 as the government seeks to curb last year’s record expansion. ICBC gained 0.9 percent to HK$5.80, and BOC, the nation’s No. 3 lender by market value, climbed 1 percent to HK$3.93.

All but four stocks rose on the 42-company Hang Seng Index. Futures on the gauge added 0.5 percent to 20,725.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hanny Wan in Hong Kong at hwan3@bloomberg.net; Emily Chan in Hong Kong at Echan107@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net.


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