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Hong Kong Stocks Halt Two-Day Decline on Consumer Shares

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May 15 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong shares rose, with the Hang Seng Index rebounding from its biggest two-day drop in a month, as consumer stocks Li & Fung Ltd. and Esprit Holdings Ltd. led the advance.

Li & Fung, the biggest supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., jumped 8.4 percent after UBS AG raised its rating. Esprit gained 5.8 percent after the clothier said it will seek cost cuts to improve profitability. GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest producer of polysilicon, soared 10 percent after China Securities Journal said the nation may announce solar power subsidy policies soon.

The Hang Seng Index gained 0.5 percent to 23,044.24 at the close. The measure dropped 1.7 percent in the last two days, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.3 percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies advanced 0.5 percent to 11,083.29 today.

“People are not too bullish or bearish -- they are acting according to individual company news,” said Alex Wong, a Hong Kong-based director at Ample Capital Ltd. “You can’t be too bearish because other markets are so strong. But for Hong Kong, sentiment has been affected” by weakness in Chinese shares.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.2 percent today. The U.S. equity gauge rose 1 percent yesterday in New York to its eighth record high in the past nine sessions amid optimism over growth in the world’s biggest economy. Germany’s DAX Index gained 0.7 percent to 8,339.11, also a record.

Li & Fung, the second-worst performer on the Hang Seng Index this year through yesterday, jumped 8.4 percent to HK$11.16. UBS raised its rating on the stock to neutral from sell, citing a lack of “near-term catalysts.”

Esprit Advances

Esprit gained 5.8 percent to HK$11.28, the second-steepest gain on the Hang Seng Index after Li & Fung. Esprit will focus on curbing costs by shutting unprofitable stores and clothing lines in the next six to 12 months, Chief Executive Officer Jose Manuel Martinez Gutierrez said in a webcast yesterday.

Anta Sports Products Ltd. surged 9.3 percent to HK$7.30 after Credit Suisse Group AG said it sees “gradual improvement” for the Chinese maker of sportswear.

GCL-Poly Energy jumped 10 percent to HK$1.87 after China Securities Journal reported China may start solar power subsidy policies soon, citing unidentified analysts.

Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. increased 1.6 percent to HK$10.36. The operator of big-box stores said first-quarter profit rose to 1.06 billion yuan from 919 million yuan a year earlier as sales rose.

Futures on the Hang Seng Index climbed 0.3 percent to 22,928 today. The HSI Volatility Index fell 1.9 percent to 15.09, indicating traders expect a swing of 4.3 percent for the equity benchmark in the next 30 days.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anna Kitanaka in Tokyo at akitanaka@bloomberg.net; Kana Nishizawa in Hong Kong at knishizawa5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John McCluskey at j.mccluskey@bloomberg.net

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