Hong Kong Stocks Gain But Off Early Highs

MarketWatch Pulse

Hong Kong stocks rose along with the region Wednesday after a strong showing for Wall Street shares overnight, but the market moved off its initial highs in the early minutes, as the Shanghai bourse swung to a loss. The Hang Seng Index was up 0.5%, though shy of its 0.9% gain at the open, while the H-share index tracking mainland Chinese names added 0.6%. The possibility of a resolution to pro-democracy protests -- despite little progress at televised talks between the government and demonstrators on Tuesday -- appeared to help Hong Kong-focused real estate and retailers: Wharf Holdings Ltd. rose 1.1%, Henderson Land Development Co. added 1.4%, Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. improved by 1.3%, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. gained 1.5%, Oi Wah Pawnshop Credit Holdings Ltd. traded 1.9% higher, and Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd. advanced 1.1%. Techs also rose, with Lenovo Group Ltd. up 0.7% and Tencent Holdings Ltd. up 1.9% after Tuesday's rally for the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Shares of Sands China Ltd. edged up 0.2%, underperforming both the overall market and the casino sector, after issuing unaudited third-quarter results showing an almost 4% gain for profit but a 0.2% fall in revenue. China Mobile Ltd. slipped 0.1% after losses the previous session due to a profit miss for its earnings, while rival China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. dropped 1.8%, though China Telecom Corp. managed to rise 0.6%. And among the leading advancers, China Cosco Holdings Co. rose 4.7%, and Cosco Pacific Ltd. added 1.2% -- the reason behind the moves wasn't immediately clear, although a couple of Chinese-language reports cited strength in shipping demand and a low oil price. Over on the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.1%, extending a 0.7% loss in the previous session after economic growth data Tuesday suggested no imminent need for major stimulus. Among the decliners, Dongfeng Automobile Co. lost 1.1%, and China Eastern Airlines Corp. fell 1%, even as its Hong Kong shares rallied 3.1%.

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