Hong Kong Stocks Head for 19-Month High on China Exports

Hong Kong stocks rose, with the city’s benchmark index closing at its highest in 19-months, after China’s exports beat estimates.

China Cosco Holdings Co. jumped 7.3 percent, leading gains by shipping companies. China Solar Energy Holdings Ltd. surged 28 percent, pacing an advance in the sector after the government said it aims to more than double solar capacity. Dongfeng Motor Group Co. and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. advanced after an industry group official said mainland vehicles sales may rise about 5 percent this year.

The Hang Seng Index gained 0.6 percent to 23,354.31 at the close of trading in Hong Kong. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies rose 1 percent to 11,931.47.

“China’s export data is boosting investor sentiment,” said Grace Tam, Hong Kong-based global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management Ltd., which oversees about $1.3 trillion globally. “They beat the consensus and so confidence among investors has been ticking up.”

Hong Kong’s benchmark index surged 23 percent last year amid signs China’s economy is improving and as central banks around the globe added stimulus. Shares on the measure traded at 11.3 times estimated earnings yesterday, compared with 13 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 10.9 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Shipping companies and port operators advanced after China’s General Administration of Customs said the country’s exports increased 14 percent last month from a year earlier. The increase, the biggest since May, compared with the 5 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey and November’s 2.9 percent gain. Imports grew 6 percent after being unchanged in the previous month. The trade surplus almost doubled from a year earlier to $31.6 billion.

Shippers Advance

China Cosco gained 7.3 percent to HK$4.73. China Shipping Development Co. added 6 percent to HK$5.13. Tianjin Port Development Holdings Ltd. rose 3.4 percent HK$1.22.

Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent today after the gauge yesterday advanced 0.3 percent amid investor optimism about fourth-quarter corporate earnings. Contracts on the Hang Seng Index rose 1 percent to 23,488. The HSI Volatility Index slid 0.6 percent to 13.80, indicating traders expect the benchmark to swing 3.9 percent in the next 30 days.

Solar companies surged amid plans to boost capacity in China. China Solar Energy jumped 28 percent to 4.6 Hong Kong cents. China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Ltd., a maker of solar powered street lights, advanced 5.2 percent to HK$7.65.

Solar Prospects

China, the world’s biggest supplier of solar panels, plans to add 10 gigawatts of capacity this year, the National Energy Administration said in a statement on its website on Jan. 8.

Automakers also gained. Dongfeng Motor advanced 5.9 percent to HK$12.96, while Guangzhou Automobile advanced 6.1 percent to HK$7.83. Great Wall Motor Co., China’s biggest maker of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, advanced 1.3 percent to HK$26.40.

China vehicle sales, including those of cars and buses, may rise about 5 percent this year and reach 20 million units, spurred by a rebound in economic growth and rising incomes, said Ye Shengji, deputy secretary general of the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Among stocks that fell, Towngas China Co. sank 3.8 percent to HK$6.52. The gas distributor aims to raise about HK$930 million by selling 150 million new shares at HK$6.31 each, the company said today.

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