November 16, 2018 / 8:56 AM / 8 months ago

HK stocks edge higher on trade talk hopes

* HSI, HSCE gain 0.3 pct on Friday; both post weekly gains

* Trade talks optimism boosts positive sentiment

* ZTE jumps on reports of 5G phone plan, boosts IT hardware index

By Noah Sin

HONG KONG, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Stocks in Hong Kong rose marginally on Friday as China and the United States were seen as drawing closer to formal trade negotiations. IT hardware companies, some of which were caught in the trade war crossfire earlier this year, outperformed the rest of the market.

** The Hang Seng index was up 0.3 percent at 26,183.53 on Friday, and up 2.3 percent for the week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.3 percent on Friday, and was up 1.5 percent for the week.

** Beijing provided earlier this week U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration a formal document in response to Washington’s demands for trade reforms. However, the White House played down the prospect of a quick end to the trade war on Thursday, expressing dissatisfaction at China’s offer.

** The market does not expect trade tensions to worsen ahead of the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump at the G20 summit later this month, said Steven Leung, director of sales at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.

** “People are not worried about new tariffs in the near term,” he said. “Officials may talk up threats, but that’s just talk. Not much will change in reality, at least in the near term.”

** Hang Seng’s hardware index jumped 2.8 percent. The index was led higher by a 6.4 percent gain in ZTE, which has been caught in the Sino-U.S. trade conflict. The stock also received a boost from local media reports, citing the company, that it will launch a 5G phone in the first half of 2019.

** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 0.6 percent, while the IT sector rose 0.9 percent, the financial sector ended 0.4 percent higher and the property sector rose 0.2 percent.

** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was BOC Hong Kong Holdings Ltd, which gained 2.2 percent, while the biggest loser was Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, which fell 1.6 percent.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.6 percent.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.9472 per U.S. dollar at 08:25 GMT, 0.13 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.938.

** The top gainers among H-shares were China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd up 3.2 percent, followed by Byd Co Ltd, gaining 2.4 percent and Haitong Securities Co Ltd, also up by 2.4 percent.

** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd, which was down 5.9 percent, Air China Ltd, which fell 2.6 percent and China Telecom Corp Ltd, down by 2.2 percent.

** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 17.42 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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