Hong Kong stocks rallied the most in three weeks on speculation authorities are getting closer to announcing a start date for the Shenzhen exchange link.
The Hang Seng Index jumped as much as 2.4 percent before paring gains to 2 percent at the close. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. climbed 5 percent even as the bourse said it has no plans to unveil the program today. Haitong International Securities Group Ltd. advanced 6.3 percent.
“There are some market talks that the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will announce details on the Shenzhen connect this weekend, with the starting date being in September,” said Yen Chiu, a Hong Kong-based trader at Shenwan Hongyuan Group. “The rally seems to be speculation-driven for now.”
The Shenzhen link, modeled after its six-month-old counterpart in Shanghai, will help solidify Hong Kong’s role as a gateway to Chinese markets and give foreign investors greater access to non-state companies in the world’s second-largest economy. HKEx Chairman Chow Chung Kong said last month the bourse is preparing for the Shenzhen program to begin in the second half of 2015.
The exchange has no arrangements to announce the Shenzhen connect today, said Lorraine Chan, a spokeswoman at HKEx. A call to the media department of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange went unanswered.
HKEx shares extended their gain this year to 69 percent. Volumes via the Shanghai link helped boost the bourse’s first-quarter profit by 34 percent from a year earlier as average daily turnover for equities climbed 17 percent, the company said this week.
Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, gained 4.3 percent, its biggest increase in four months. CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. rose 4.1 percent, while China Mobile Ltd. climbed 3.6 percent.
The Shenzhen Composite Index fell 0.5 percent at the close, paring an earlier loss of as much as 1.9 percent. Technology, consumer and health-care companies comprise almost half of the index, while state-backed banks and industrial conglomerates dominate Shanghai’s bourse.
Foreign investors have purchased about 136 billion yuan ($22 billion) of the 300 billion yuan aggregate quota of mainland equities available through the Shanghai link. Chinese traders have bought about 90 billion yuan of Hong Kong shares.