Hong Kong stocks rose, with the benchmark Hang Seng Index extending its longest streak of weekly gains since 2010, as U.S. economic reports beat estimates and optimism increased that Greece will get a bailout.
Techtronic Industries Co., a power-tool maker that counts North America as its largest market, gained 3.1 percent. Esprit Holdings Ltd., a clothier that gets most of its revenue from Europe, increased 4.9 percent. China Life Insurance Co., the nation’s biggest insurer by market value, advanced 3.5 percent after saying premium income rose 12 percent in January. Sands China Ltd., a Macau casino operator, climbed 6.2 percent on speculation visitors to the city will increase.
The Hang Seng Index rose 1 percent to 21,491.62 at the close, rising 3.4 percent for the week. It posted a seventh-straight week of gains, the longest winning streak since the period ended Oct. 15, 2010. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong rose 1.2 percent to 11,711.51.
“It seems like the U.S. economy is improving with the quantitative easing starting to show its effect,” said Lewis Wan, chief investment officer at Pride Investments Group Ltd. in Hong Kong. “That’s giving the market some confidence right now.”
Hang Seng’s Advance
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index has risen 17 percent this year amid optimism Europe will contain its debt crisis and U.S. data signaled strength in the world’s biggest economy. Shares in the Hang Seng Index traded at 10.9 times estimated earnings, compared with 13 times for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 10.9 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today. The gauge advanced 1.1 percent in New York yesterday after reports showed Americans filed the fewest claims for jobless benefits since March 2008 and builders broke ground on more houses than expected. Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded this month at the fastest pace in four months as orders and sales rose.
Techtronic gained 3.1 percent to HK$10.10. Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd., which makes shoes for Nike Inc., advanced 1 percent to HK$24.55. Esprit climbed 4.9 percent to HK$15.02, leading gains on the Hang Seng, while HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank by market value, rose 1.7 percent to HK$70.50.
Bailout on Horizon
European governments are considering cutting interest rates on emergency loans to Greece and using contributions from the European Central Bank to plug a new financing gap in the second Greek bailout, two people familiar with the talks said.
China Life rose 3.5 percent to HK$23.60 after reporting January premium income was 49.1 billion yuan ($6.8 billion).
Sands China jumped 6.2 percent to HK$29.95 and Wynn Macau Ltd., a unit of the casino operator founded by billionaire Steve Wynn, advanced 1.8 percent to HK$20.30 after Union Gaming Group LLC analysts said China’s government is simplifying visa applications for people to attend meetings, conferences and exhibitions in Macau.
Among stocks that fell, steelmaker Citic Pacific Ltd. sank 4.1 percent to HK$14.68 after Standard Chartered Plc cut its rating on the stock to “in-line” from “outperform.”
Futures on the Hang Seng Index expiring this month rose 1.1 percent to 21,444. The HSI Volatility Index fell 1.3 percent to 22.75, indicating options traders expect a swing of 6.5 percent in the benchmark index over the next 30 days.