April 1, 2019 / 8:46 AM / in 23 days

HK stocks rise to 9-month high on China growth, trade hopes

* HSI +1.8 pct, HSCE +1.6 pct; A-shares up

* China factory activity grows unexpectedly

* Trade talks to continue, China holds tariffs

HONG KONG, April 1 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose to their highest point in nine months on Monday after China reported better-than-expected industrial activity and as the Sino-U.S. trade talks appeared to be making progress. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 1.8 percent at 29,562.02, the highest since June 2018. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 1.6 percent. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.7 percent, while the IT sector climbed 0.8 percent, and the financial sector ended 2 percent higher. ** The property sector rallied 2.7 percent on brighter economic outlook in China and hopes for a softer U.S. interest rate policy. ** Factory activity in China unexpectedly grew for the first time in four months in March, both official and private surveys showed, suggesting government stimulus measures may be starting to take hold. ** Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to visit Washington this week to resume the negotiations. On Sunday, China said it would continue to suspend additional tariffs on U.S. vehicles and auto parts after April 1. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index rose 2.6 percent to its 10-month high. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 2.6 percent to its highest level in over a year. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1.4 percent. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was BOC Hong Kong Holdings Ltd, which gained 6.5 percent. The banking group reported a 12 percent rise in 2018 net profit. ** The Hong Kong dollar continued to be weak, owing largely to a wide spread between local and U.S. borrowing rates. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority bought HK$4.97 billion of the currency on Saturday morning, its seventh intervention in a month. ** About 2.55 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.78 billion. ** The short and one-factor leveraged Hang Seng index, which is designed to replicate the payoff of a short or leveraged portfolio and is linked to the movements of the Hang Seng Index, was lower by 1.72 percent on the day at 4,653.87 points. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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