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Hong Kong stocks close higher following Wall Street's gains
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20:07, January 19, 2009

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Wall Street's gains Friday sent Hong Kong's benchmark index higher Monday, but heavyweight HSBC continued to fall on persistent concerns over the funding needs ofthe banking giant.

Turnover shrank to 37.92 billion HK dollars (4.89 billion U.S. dollars) from 47.07 billion HK dollars (6.07 billion U.S. dollars)on Thursday.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index rose 84.48 points, or 0.6 percent, to 13,339.99 after earlier rising to a high of 13,519.18. The intraday low was 13,097.50.

Analysts said they expect the blue-chip index to fall ahead of next week's Lunar New Year holiday, as many investors will likely offload shares to avoid exposure to any negative global developments over the period. They said the index will likely fall below 13,000 in coming sessions, and find near-term support at 12,800.

The Hong Kong stock market will be closed between Jan. 26 and Jan. 28. The Chinese mainland's stock markets will be closed all from Jan. 26 to Jan. 30.

Investors continued to sell down banking giant HSBC following fresh comments by activist investment firm Knight Vinke, which echoed earlier comments by analysts that the lender will need to raise funds to continue operations. The U.K.-based bank fell to another 10-year-low of 62.30 HK dollars, down 3.0 percent, recovering slightly from a low of 61.30 HK dollars hit earlier in the session. HSBC contributed to a 48.5-point decline in the Hang Seng Index in Monday's session, offsetting some of the index's strong early gains.

Knight Vinke, which is also an HSBC shareholder, said Sunday the lender may have to raise substantial funds through a rights issue if its U.S. subprime lending business isn't restructured.

Among the day's biggest gainers, Chinese alumina maker Chalco rose 5.7 percent to 3.88 HK dollars after the company said it raised spot alumina prices by 10 percent to 2,200 yuan(about 321. 83 U.S. dollars) a ton.

Hong Kong property developers also rose sharply, led by Hang Lung Properties, which rose 7.3 percent to 18.58 HK dollars. Sun Hung Kai Properties added 5.4 percent to 67.45 HK dollars and Cheung Kong gained 2.7 percent to 72.20 HK dollars. (One U.S. dollar = 7.7505 HK dollars)

Source: Xinhua

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