Hong Kong stocks rebound a bit after turbulent week
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index ended up 1.4% Monday, the biggest daily gain in two weeks, continuing a slight rebound after last week’s losses.
Although the index closed higher Friday, it slid nearly 4.8% overall last week. That was the Hang Seng’s biggest weekly drop since August. The city has been rattled by violent protests that escalated in recent days.
The local economy has also been hit. The Hong Kong government warned Friday that mass protests could cause the economy to shrink by 1.3% this year, which would mark the first annual recession since 2009.
Tencent jumped 3.1%. Bloomberg reported Friday that the Chinese social media and gaming giant was reportedly in talks with investors about a minority stake in Universal Music Group. UMG owner Vivendi first acknowledged in August that it was talking to Tencent about a stake in the business.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index also built on its earlier gains and closed up 0.6%. The People’s Bank of China trimmed a key interbank lending rate Monday, two weeks after the central bank cut another important rate.
It’s another sign that the central bank “is starting to take a more proactive approach” to pushing down borrowing costs to prop up economic growth, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist for Capital Economics.
Monday’s move could encourage banks to lower the Loan Prime Rate on Wednesday, as banks’ funding costs are lower, he wrote in a research note. The LPR is the interest rate that banks charge corporate clients for new loans. It’s a new lending benchmark that China introduced in August and hopes to gradually replace the existing fixed benchmark lending rate.
Elsewhere in the region, markets were relatively muted. Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi Index, though, slipped nearly 0.1%.
Investors may be looking for more news on trade. Wall Street’s major indexes all closed in the green on Friday in part because of US-China trade optimism. Over the weekend, China’s Ministry of Commerce said that Chinese and US negotiators had held a “constructive discussion” about a phase one deal.
SoftBank announced Monday a plan to merge its unit Z Holdings, formerly Yahoo Japan, with messaging service operator Line Corp in 2020.
Z Holdings and Line Corp finished up 1.2% and 2.2% each in Tokyo.
US futures, meanwhile, rose slightly during Asian trading hours on Monday. Futures for the Dow, S<>&P 500 and Nasdaq were all up./p