Hong Kong Stocks Rise as Banks Climb; Builders Decline

Hong Kong stocks rose, with the benchmark index headed for its first advance in three days, as banks and insurance companies climbed. Gains were limited after the city doubled taxes on property sales and a survey showed China’s manufacturing may expand at a slower pace.

Bank of Communications Co. rose 1.2 percent to pace gains among mainland lenders. Want Want China Holdings Ltd. climbed 2.3 percent after HSBC Holdings Plc recommended investors buy the snack maker’s shares. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (16), the city’s biggest developer, slid 2.2 percent.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index (HSI) added 0.2 percent to 22,800.54 as of 11 a.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge posted its biggest weekly drop in three months last week on concern the U.S. may rein in stimulus while China take steps to cool its property market.

“While the flash PMI numbers are not as good as the market had expected, it suggests the Chinese economy is still okay,” said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. “We may see a further decline among Hong Kong developers in the short term.”

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) of mainland companies trimmed an advance of as much as 1 percent, adding 0.2 percent to 11,339.30.

The preliminary reading of the Purchasing Managers’ Index was 50.4 in February, according to a statement from HSBC and Markit Economics today. That compares with a 52.3 final reading for January and the 52.2 median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. A number above 50 indicates expansion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Burgos in Singapore at jburgos4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net

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