Hong Kong stocks rose, driving the Hang Seng Index (HSI) to its biggest two-day advance since January, after China bank lending surged in March to the most in a year. Shares pared gains momentarily after mainland economic growth slowed more than forecast.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s biggest lender by market value, jumped 3.2 percent. Li & Fung Ltd., the biggest supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., rose 2.2 percent after Federal Reserve policy makers signaled U.S. interest rates will remain low. Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the nation’s largest producer of the metal, climbed 2.7 percent as commodity prices increased.
“China’s well-controlled policy to make banks increase lending is definitely positive for markets,” said Masahiko Ejiri, a Tokyo-based senior fund manager in Tokyo at Mizuho Asset Management Co. China’s economic figures “are unlikely to be a catalyst for selling because if the figures are bad, expectations for monetary easing will increase.”
The Hang Seng Index rose 1.8 percent to 20,701.04 at the close in Hong Kong, with all but three stocks advancing among its 48 members. Volume on the gauge was almost a third above the 30-day average. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) of mainland companies climbed 2.6 percent to 10,936.90.
-- With assistance from Saeromi Shin in Seoul and Zhang Shidong in Shanghai. Editors: John McCluskey, Jason Clenfield
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