February 6, 2020 / 9:02 AM / 16 days ago

Hong Kong shares gain most in 5 months as China cuts tariffs on U.S. imports

* Hang Seng up 2.6%, H-shares also add 2.6%

* China to halve some U.S. tariffs starting on Feb. 14

* Hong Kong blocks cruise ship; HSBC extends travel ban

HONG KONG, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares jumped more than 2.5% on Thursday, the most in five months, after Beijing announced it will slash tariffs on some U.S. imports, in a move to aid an economy pressured by the coronavirus epidemic. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 2.6% at 27,493.70, marking its largest daily percentage gain since Sept. 4, 2019. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 2.6%. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 4%, the IT sector gained 1.8%, the financial sector ended 2.3% higher and the property sector rose 3%. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was China Mobile Ltd , which gained 5.4%. ** China said it will halve tariffs on some goods imported from the United States starting on Feb. 14, and reiterated that it hopes it can work with Washington to eventually scrap all tariffs in bilateral trade. ** Hong Kong authorities quarantined a cruise ship for a second day on Thursday as they checked thousands of passengers and crew for the new coronavirus, forbidding anyone from disembarking to prevent further spreading of the epidemic. ** HSBC has extended its ban on staff travelling to Hong Kong until March 2, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index and the CSI300 index climbed for the third straight session. ** The yuan was 0.1% firmer at 6.9688 per U.S. dollar at 0817 GMT on the back of China’s tariff repreive. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 2.4%. ** About 2.25 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.50 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.60% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Aditya Soni

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