27 February 2020

Solar gets a lift but HSI searches for direction

The Hong Kong stock market struggled for direction Monday as investors waited for HSBC (00005.HK) to release its quarterly report card. The benchmark index Heng Sang Index dropped 0.26 percent, or 60 points, to end the day at 23,189.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index gained 0.07 percent to reach 10,686 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged over the trading session.

In results announced after the market’s close, HSBC said the group’s third-quarter pretax profit rose 30 percent as its cost-cutting strategy paid off and it focused on lucrative markets. Pretax profit rose to US$4.53 billion from US$3.48 billion a year earlier, but it was below analysts’ estimates. Shares in the London-based bank fell 0.35 percent.

Kunlun Energy (00135.HK) was Monday’s best performer among the blue chips, rising 4 percent for the day. The counter has risen nearly 14 percent since Oct. 28.

At the other end of the blue-chip spectrum was China Resources Land (01109.HK), which closed 3.5 percent lower as real estate firms came under selling pressure after reports that the authorities in Guangzhou will tighten limits on mortgages for second homes. Tianjin-based developer Sunac China Holdings (01918.HK) slid more than 5 percent on the day, while other sector plays were down 1-2 percent.

Mainland solar player Shunfeng Photovoltaic International (01165.HK) confirmed it will buy Wuxi Suntech Power Co, a unit of bankrupt Suntech Power Holdings (STP.US), for 3 billion yuan (US$492 million). Its shares rose close to 40 percent during the day but ended the session up 19.3 percent. The deal heated up interest in other solar plays, including polysilicon maker GCL Poly Energy Holdings (03800.HK) and Comtec Solar Systems (00712.HK), which both closed 4 percent higher.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]