Hong Kong Stocks Edge Higher; Earnings In Focus

MarketWatch Pulse

Hong Kong stocks swung higher Monday morning, as the Hang Seng Index recovered from a lower open to sit 0.2% higher. Earnings were a focus, with China Life Insurance Co. improved by 0.8%, after it reported a 13% jump in its premium revenues for the first two months of this year. On the other hand, property-focused Hong Kong conglomerate Wharf Holdings Ltd. fell 2.3% after posting a 22% gain in 2014 net profit but a 7% drop in underlying core profit. Some of the smaller names reporting earnings also saw weakness, with China Saite Group Co. down 9.2% after slashing its year-end dividend, and chip-maker China Electronics Corp. Holdings slipping 0.5% after its 2014 profit slid more than 40%. Meanwhile, energy stocks traded mostly lower on the back of falling international crude prices, as PetroChina Co. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, each gave up 0.5%, and Cnooc Ltd. pulled back by 0.4%. But mainland Chinese oil and gas explorer Sino Oil & Gas Holdings defied the trend to rally 5.7% as the company tipped a swing to profit for last year. Among other movers, the heavily weighted Hang Seng Index components Tencent Holdings Ltd. and China Mobile Ltd. rose 0.6% and 2.3%, respectively, with both due to announce their earnings later this week. On the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index rallied 0.9%, with airlines moving decisively higher on the weaker energy prices. Among them, Shanghai shares of China Eastern Airlines Corp. added 3.2%, while those of China Southern Airlines Co. gained 4.3%. In Hong Kong, China Southern rose 2.7%, and China Eastern climbed 1.6%.

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