HONG KONG Oct 5 Hong Kong stocks rose slightly
on Wednesday, outperforming regional markets, lifted by energy
shares after an overnight surge in oil prices.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent at
23,796.21 points by lunch break, while China Enterprises Index
gained 0.9 percent to 9,843.22 points. MSCI's broadest
index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was
down 0.2 percent.
Energy stocks account for 14 percent of Hong Kong's
benchmark index, a much higher percentage than in many other
Wednesday's gains came in relatively thin trade as mainland
markets are shut for a week due to Golden Week holidays.
Investors remain broadly cautious on the outlook for Hong
Kong equities in the near term after those rose by more than 20
percent in the past three months.
"We are a bit more conservative on the outlook for the Hong
Kong market than the region due to our cautious view on the
property sector," said Tai Hui, chief Asia markets strategist at
JP Morgan Asset Management in Hong Kong.
In terms of valuations, Hong Kong trades broadly in line
with regional peers.
On a price-to-book basis, the Hong Kong stock market trades
at 1.2 times book, a shade below its 15-year average of 1.3
times. In comparison, the broader Asia-ex Japan market trades at
1.4 times book compared to a 15-year average of 1.7.
Stocks of Petrochina, Kunlun Energy,
CNOOC and Sinopec Corp were among
Wednesday's top gainers, though their advances were trimmed by
the end of the morning.
A sub-index measuring property stocks was down 0.2
percent, falling for the third consecutive day. Shares of China
Resources Land eased 0.7 percent and China Overseas
Land was broadly flat.
China's Shenzhen has rolled out new steps, including higher
mortgage down payments and home purchase restrictions, Xinhua
news agency reported on Tuesday, joining other Chinese cities
attempting to cool soaring home prices.
Turnover has been very low this week with volumes
over the past two days struggling to hit the 50 billion Hong
Kong dollars ($6.45 billion) mark compared to 70 billion Hong
Kong dollars of shares traded last Friday, before China's
week-long holiday began.
($1 = 7.7568 Hong Kong dollars)
(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee and Donny Kwok; Editing by