March 20, 2020 / 9:39 AM / 16 days ago

RPT-Hong Kong stocks rally, but down for the week, as virus worries persist

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* HSI +5.1%, HSCE +6.5%, CSI300 +1.8%

* Hang Seng down 5.1% for the week, HSCE down 5.5% on week

* Mainland investors buy nearly 7 bln yuan of HK shares

March 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks staged a robust rally on Friday, encouraged by wider gains in other markets, though they still posted weekly losses as worries persisted over economic damage from the global coronavirus outbreak.

** The Hang Seng index rose 5.1%, to 22,805.07, its best daily rise since late 2011, while the China Enterprises Index gained 6.5%, to 9,118.67 points.

** For the week, the HSI lost 5.1%, while the HSCE declined 5.5%, following a brutal selloff the previous week, as worries lingered over the economic impact of the global virus outbreak.

** To blunt the virus’s hit, nations have poured ever-more-massive amounts of stimulus into their economies and central banks have flooded markets with cheap dollars to ease funding strains.

** China kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged on Friday, defying expectations for a cut to ease borrowing costs in an economy jolted by the virus.

** Still, China is set to unleash trillions of yuan of fiscal stimulus to revive an economy expected to shrink for the first time in four decades, four policy sources told Reuters.

** China’s coronavirus infections from abroad hit a new daily record on Thursday, putting pressure on authorities to hold the bar high on already-tough customs rules and public-health protocols.

** Mainland investors continued to buy into Hong Kong stocks after the recent selloff, purchasing nearly 7 billion yuan ($990 million) worth of HK-listed shares on Friday. ($1 = 7.0651 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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