23 April 2019, Tuesday  |  
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Market Commentary - Foreign Markets  
Hong Kong Market starts week with losses
(14:23, 15 Apr 2019)
Hong Kong share market closed down at lowest level in almost two weeks in volatile trade on Monday, 15 April 2019, as risk sentiments hurt by tacking selloff in Mainland Market today which fell due to worries about slowing local and global economic growth, shedding earlier gains on the back of stronger bank lending and optimism in U.S.-China trade talks. At closing bell, the Hang Seng Index dropped 0.33%, or 99.04 points, to 29,810.72, the lowest since 2 April 2019. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 27.98 points or 0.24% to 11,631.86. Turnover increased to HK$110 billion from HK$89.7 billion on Friday.

Investors risk sentiments underpinned in early trade today, on signs of recovery in the world's largest economy after release of stronger-than-expected China data last week. After trading ended for the last week, the Peoples Bank of China released credit data that suggested growth exceeded all estimates in March. Risk sentiment is also being boosted by signs the U.S. and China are nearing a trade deal after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. is open to facing “repercussions” if it doesn't live up to its commitments.

The broad-based improvement in the Chinese economy from manufacturing to producer price inflation in March has boosted the market sentiment suggesting that the economy is slowly moving towards stabilisation. The pick-up in China's manufacturing PMI since the last three months have provided some relief to the investors with the March PMI figure at 50.5. The Service activity in China also quickened in March at 54.8 confirming the stability in the Chinese economy. The service sector contributes almost half to the Chinese economy. Last week's encouraging New Yuan loans and money supply surprised the market positively posting increment of 1.69 trillion Yuan in March. Total Chinese Yuan loan in the first quarter of 2019 hit a record of 5.81 trillion Yuan. Also, total social financing, a broad measure of credit in the economy, increased by four times in March at 2.86 trillion Yuan since last month. This support implies a continuation of the recovery in the economy. Investors will look for further signs of recovery in the Chinese economy in the series of economic data due to be released this week.

Encouraging developments in the U.S.-China trade negotiations also added to the positive sentiment. Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Washington and Beijing are making progress on a trade deal, which includes agreeing on an enforcement mechanism. Still, Mnuchin declined to say if the U.S. will use tariffs as an enforcement tool.

The Chinese government is confident of achieving this year main targets including economic growth of between 6% and 6.5%, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday at a business forum in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Blue chips were mixed. HSBC (00005) gained 0.3% to HK$67.1 after its CEO John Flint last Friday told a shareholder meeting that the bank may continue its buyback on the regulatory approval. HKEX (00388) softened 0.8% to HK$274.4. Tencent (00700) shed 1.4% to HK$388.2. AIA (01299) advanced 0.9% to HK$80.

Chinese banks were mostly firmer after China reported better-than-expected new loans of RMB1,690bn in March. CM Bank (03968) edged up 0.5% to HK$40.4. PSBC (01658) gained 1.8% to HK$4.63. ABC (01288) inched up 0.3% to HK$3.61. Insurers were also higher, with NCI (01336) jumping 3.5% to HK$44.75. China Taiping (00966) added 2.2% to HK$25.35.

Chinese developers rose as Home Purchase Restrictions (HPRs) for 10 cities expired. Sunac China (01918) gained 1.3% to HK$43.55. Shimao Property (00813) put on 0.8% to HK$26. Country Garden (02007) added 0.6% to HK$13.24. China Vanke (02202) nudged up 0.2% to HK$33.55.

Chinese telecom counters were mixed ahead of the earnings season. China Mobile (00941) inched down 0.6% to HK$76.55. China Telcom (00728) was unchanged at HK$4.22. China Unicom (00762) fell 1.6% to HK$9.69. The company will report its earnings next Tuesday. China Tower (00788), which is scheduled to report its earnings on 17 April, rose 1% to HK$2.1 after Morgan Stanley's target price hike.

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