Expectations of new government tax concessions and more interest rate cuts sent Hong Kong's property developers sharply higher Tuesday, leading broad gains in the city's benchmark index.
The Hang Seng Index rose 445.61 points, or 1.9 percent, to 23, 714.75 after earlier reaching a high of 23,762.40. The index is down 15 percent since the beginning of the year.
Turnover reached 68.68 billion HK dollars (8.82 billion U.S. dollars), up from 63.69 billion HK dollars (8.18 billion U.S. dollars) Monday, but still among the lowest daily volumes since August.
Analysts said they expect the blue-chip index to meet strong resistance near 24,000 points, as the continued volatility in global markets keeps many investors on the sidelines.
Analysts said the local market may get a boost next week ahead of the National People's Congress, an annual meeting of legislators in China, on expectations of new policy initiatives aimed at maintaining the health of the Chinese economy.
Leading the blue-chip gains Tuesday were property developers, on expectations that the government would unveil income and property tax rebates when Financial Secretary John Tsang presents the annual budget Wednesday.
The Hang Seng properties index rose 3.2 percent to 31,026.27, outperforming all other subindexes. Sino Land jumped 6.6 percent to 20.60 HK dollars, Wharf Holdings rose 6.5 percent to 40.15 HK dollars, Sun Hung Kai Properties added 4.1 percent to 135.70 HK dollars, and Cheung Kong gained 2.1 percent to 114.40 HK dollars.
China-related shares also rose, recovering from declines earlier in the session, tracking a mixed trading day in mainland China's stock markets. Chinese banks listed in Hong Kong were mostly up throughout Tuesday's session, with China Construction Bank up 2 percent at 5.62 HK dollars, Bank of China climbing 1.9 percent to 3.28 HK dollars, and ICBC up 1.8 percent at 5.23 HK dollars.
(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2008)