Shares in Hong Kong ended higher on Wednesday but finished the month over 10 per cent weaker as concerns over China growth and Sino-U.S. trade friction weighed heavily on investors' minds. At the close, the Hang Seng index was up 1.6 per cent at 24,979.69 points, while the China Enterprises Index closed 1.4 per cent higher at 10,138.63 points. Despite Wednesday's gains, the Hang Seng finished down 10.1 per cent for the month, its worst monthly performance since January 2016. It was the sixth consecutive monthly drop for the index. The Hang Seng has only dropped for six straight months once before, in 1982.
The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares ended 0.3 per cent higher, while the IT sector closed 4.99 per cent firmer, the financial sector ended up 1.26 per cent and property sector closed 0.32 per cent lower. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, up 7.6 per cent, while the biggest loser was Link Real Estate Investment Trust, which closed down 3.61 per cent. The Shanghai Composite index closed 1.4 per cent higher at 2,602.78 points. The index dropped 7.7 per cent for the month, its biggest monthly drop since June. The blue-chip CSI300 index ended 1.4 higher, but dropped 8.3 per cent for the month, its worst monthly performance since January 2016. Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index closed 1.32 per cent firmer, while Japan's Nikkei index closed up 2.16 per cent.
The yuan was quoted at 6.9728 per U.S. dollar at 0823 GMT, 0.08 per cent weaker than the previous close of 6.9675. It touched 6.9747 to the dollar on Wednesday, its weakest level since May 2008. The top gainers among H-shares were Air China Ltd up 6.95 per cent, followed by Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd, gaining 6.16 per cent and Tencent Holdings Ltd, up by 5.87 per cent. The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd, which ended down 12.14 per cent, People's Insurance Group of China Co Ltd, which closed 6.4 per cent weaker and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, which ended 2.7 per cent down.
About 2.44 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 136.8 per cent of the market's 30-day moving average of 1.78 billion shares a day. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.17 billion. At the close, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.59 per cent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. The price-to-earnings ratio of the Hang Seng index was 9.55, as of the last full trading day, while the dividend yield was 3.9 per cent. So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Hang Seng index dropped 0.83 per cent to HK$15.87 trillion.
The short and one-factor leveraged Hang Seng index, which is designed to replicate the payoff of a short or leveraged portfolio, and is linked to the movements of the Hang Seng Index, was lower by 1.6 per cent on the day at 5,579.85 points.
(With inputs from agencies.)