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Hong Kong stocks open above 24,000, for first time in 18 months


The Hang Seng Index opened up at 0.6 per cent at 24,139.31, while Shanghai Composite Index traded 0.16 per cent up at 3,217.73

Hong Kong stocks opened 0.6 per cent higher on Thursday, breaching 24,000 at the opening bell for the first time since August 2015.

The strong performance follows further record highs in the US equity market for the fifth-straight day as investors continued to bet on economic stimulus under President Donald Trump.

The Hang Seng Index opened up at 0.6 per cent or 144.44 points at 24,139.31, and the Hang Seng China Enterprises index opened 0.98 per cent or 101.86 points higher at 10537.9.

On Wednesday, Trump said he would cut taxes substantially in a meeting with US retail CEOs. Robust US economic data released on Wednesday also helped the rising sentiment.

Also on Wednesday, the US authorities announced the country’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.6 per cent in January from December’s 0.3 per cent.

It was the largest monthly gain since February 2013 and the markets expect the sound economic data could trigger a quicker rate rise process.

On Tuesday Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said it would be “unwise” to wait too long to raise interest rates as economic growth continues and inflation rises. But she also expressed uncertainty over economic policy under the Trump presidency.

Overnight on Wall Street, major US indexes advanced to another day of new highs, extending last week’s rally on expectation of interest rate rises and tax cuts.

It was the fifth straight session that all three US major index ended at all-time highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 107.45 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 20,611.86. Trump’s tax cut plan drove the S&P 500 on a track for a seven-day gaining streak for the first time in four years.

On Wednesday, S&P 500 added 0.50 per cent or 11.67 points to 2,349.25 and the Nasdaq Composite increased 36.87 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 5,819.44.

In the mainland, stocks also opened up on Thursday.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index traded 0.16 per cent up at 3,217.73. The CSI300, which measures the performance of large companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, was up 0.20 per cent to 3,428.41. The Shenzhen Component Index added 0.17 per cent to 10194.51, the Shenzhen Composite Index up 0.06 per cent and the startup index ChiNext was flat.

In early Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was 0.17 per cent or 32.51 points down to trade at 19,405.47, and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 also dropped at 0.14 per cent.

Hong Kong stocks listed in the US as American Depository Receipts (ADRs) mostly closed higher than their Hong Kong counterparts after conversion into the local currency.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp ended 0.88 per cent higher at HK$6.13, compared with its Hong Kong close of HK$6.08. China Telecom increased 1.24 per cent to HK$ 3.8 however Yanzhou Coal dropped 0.85 per cent to HK$6.26 from its Hong Kong close of HK$6.31.


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