Hang Seng Index Advances as Exporters Gain on Drop in U.S. Jobless Claims

Hong Kong’s benchmark stock index rose for a second week, as exporters climbed on a more-than- expected fall in U.S. jobless claims boosted optimism in the strength of the global economy.

Techtronic Industries Co., the maker of Hoover vacuum cleaners that gets three-quarters of its sales from North America, increased 2.3 percent. HSBC Holdings Plc, a bank that made 20 percent of its 2009 revenue in North America, gained 1.1 percent and was the biggest contributor to the Hang Seng Index’s advance. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., the operator of Asia’s No.3 stock market, gained 2.1 percent after announcing it will spend about HK$1 billion ($129 million) for a data centre it plans to build.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 percent to 21,257.39 at the close after rising as much as 0.8 percent and falling as much as 0.4 percent. It rose 1.4 percent for the week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of so-called H shares of Chinese companies rose 0.1 percent to 11,835.93.

“Recent data are showing some signs of improvement, and investors are more reactive to them,” said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at KGI Asia Ltd. “Their risk averse behavior is not as significant as before.”

The Hang Seng Index has fallen 5.2 percent from its highest close this year on Jan. 6 as China’s efforts to cool its property market and Europe’s debt crisis raised concern global growth may stall. Stocks on the gauge trade at an average 13.8 times estimated earnings, Bloomberg data show, down from 17.2 times at the beginning of the year.

Exporters Advance

Techtronic Industries increased 2.3 percent to HK$7.26. HSBC Holdings Plc, a bank that made 20 percent of its 2009 revenue in North America, rose 1.1 percent to HK$79.15. Esprit Holdings Ltd., a global fashion retailer, increased 0.3 percent to HK$40.30. Li & Fung Ltd., the biggest supplier to retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., gained 2.9 percent to HK$43.20.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.2 percent. In New York, the index rose 0.5 percent yesterday. U.S. initial jobless claims in the week ended Sept. 4 dropped by 27,000 to 451,000, the lowest level in almost two months, according to the Labor Department. The median forecast of 46 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was a fall to 470,000.

Hong Kong Exchanges jumped 2.1 percent to HK$134.50. The bourse said it has established detailed requirements for the data centre it plans to build. The data centre “will accommodate our new strategic initiatives,” Chief Executive Charles Li said in the news release.

Vehicle Sales

Geely Automobile Holdings Co. jumped 5.7 percent to HK$2.97 after saying vehicle sales jumped 10.4 percent in August from a year earlier. Separately, Chairman Li Shufu said at a conference the company is determined to regenerate the competitiveness of Volvo, its Swedish premium-car unit.

Hong Kong Parkview Group Ltd., which invests in properties, surged to HK$2.86 from HK$1 yesterday, after trading resumed today. Its shares, which have advanced 440 percent this week, were suspended from trading yesterday, pending a “possible very substantial” acquisition and disposal, according to a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday.

New World Development Ltd., controlled by billionaire Cheng Yu-tung, lost 1.4 percent to HK$13.20, and Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. declined 1.2 percent to HK$12.94 on speculation China’s central bank may be preparing to raise interest rates.

China’s data including consumer prices and industrial output will be reported tomorrow instead of the previously scheduled Sept. 13, the National Bureau of Statistics said in an e-mail yesterday. Central bank and statistics bureau press officials weren’t immediately available to comment last evening.

China Rates Concern

Investors are speculating that the central bank may raise the deposit rate to combat the erosion of savings by inflation, according to analyst Chen Jianbo.

“The statistics bureau has almost never reported data on weekends before,” said Chen, a Beijing-based fixed-income analyst at BOC International (China) Ltd. The central bank “may need data announced that will support an increase in deposit rates,” he said.

Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., the world’s biggest developer, dropped 0.4 percent to HK$115.10 after BNP Paribas cut its rating on the stock to “hold” from “buy.”

Datang International Power Generation Co., China’s biggest publicly traded electricity producer by market value, declined 0.3 percent to HK$3.18 after UOB-Kay Hian Ltd. cut its rating to “sell” from “buy.”

Futures on the Hang Seng Index were little changed at 21,199.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kana Nishizawa in Tokyo at knishizawa5@bloomberg.net.

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