HONG KONG (AFP) – Hong Kong stocks rose 0.35 per cent Friday, in line with a global advance, as oil prices picked up and dealers bet on the European Central Bank unveiling a bond-buying scheme to kickstart the eurozone economy.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 84.42 points to 23,919.95 on turnover of HK$124.40 billion (US$16.05 billion).
After a torrid start to the new year caused by a slump in the price of oil, global markets staged a recovery from Wednesday, helped by US Federal Reserve minutes suggesting interest rate will remain low until at least July.
Also helping sentiment is a growing expectation that the European Central Bank will embark on a bond-buying easing programme to fend off the spectre of deflation.
A break in oil’s seemingly endless downward spiral provided some relief and attracted investors to buy beaten-down stocks.
In New York the Dow surged 1.84 per cent, the S&P 500 jumped 1.79 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 1.84 per cent. And markets in Frankfurt, Paris and Milan closed up more than three per cent.
Eyes are now on a closely followed US jobs report due later in the day, with forecasts for another sharp rise in new posts, giving the Fed more ammunition to lift interest rates.
China Mobile climbed 1.55 per cent to HK$95.05, Ping An Insurance put on 1.53 per cent to HK$83.15 and PetroChina gained 0.34 per cent to HK$8.81.
HSBC was off 0.14 per cent at HK$71.10, Power Assets Holdings shed 0.53 per cent to HK$75.05 and Sino Land added 0.65 per cent HK$12.42.
In mainland China the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.24 per cent, or 8.05 points, to 3,285.41 on turnover of 458.6 billion yuan ($73.8 billion) after rising as much as 3.38 per cent in intraday trade. The index gained 1.57 per cent over the week.
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, fell 0.57 per cent, or 8.31 points, to 1,442.84 on turnover of 225.8 billion yuan. It jumped 1.95 per cent over the week.
The government said inflation came in at 1.5 per cent in December, in line with forecasts and up from the five-year low of 1.4 per cent the previous month. Data also showed that for 2014 came prices rose 2.0 per cent, weaker than the 2.6 per cent in 2013 and well below Beijing’s target of about 3.5 per cent.
“The economy is still struggling,” Wang Zheng, the Shanghai-based chief investment officer at Jingxi Investment, told Bloomberg News.
“Investors will have some concern about fundamentals. Even though the data fuels expectations about further monetary policy easing, the market isn’t likely rise as fast as it did over the past few months,” Wang added.
In Shanghai China Life Insurance gained 5.94 per cent to 33.88 yuan and Bank of China rose 3.23 per cent to 4.47 yuan, while Citic Securities eased 0.82 per cent to 34.96 yuan.
And among energy plays PetroChina dropped 1.15 per cent to 12.07 yuan while Sinopec lost 1.75 per cent to 6.73 yuan on the Shanghai market.