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Hong Kong shares almost flat despite strong show of Chinese data

Hong Kong shares almost flat despite strong show of Chinese data
The Hang Seng index was unchanged at 30,124.68 points and closed near a 10-month high, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 per cent, to 11,848.98 points.

Hong Kong stocks were little changed on Wednesday, even as China surprised with firm growth data for the first-quarter, as gains in consumer goods were offset by losses in telecom and real estate companies.

The Hang Seng index was unchanged at 30,124.68 points and closed near a 10-month high, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 per cent, to 11,848.98 points. China's economy grew at a steady 6.4 per cent pace in the first quarter, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as industrial production jumped sharply and consumer demand showed signs of improvement.

But, analysts warn it is too early to call a sustainable turnaround in China, and further policy support is needed to maintain momentum in the world's second-largest economy. Many had expected a recovery only in the second half of 2019.

Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was higher by 0.19 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei index closed up 0.25 per cent. The yuan quoted at 6.6904 per U.S. dollar at 08:15 GMT, 0.33 per cent firmer than the previous close of 6.7128. The top gainers among H-shares were Byd Co Ltd up 13.43 per cent, followed by Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, gaining 10.26 per cent and Great Wall Motor Co Ltd, up by 9.89 per cent.

The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Gas Holdings Ltd, which was down 4.50 per cent, CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which fell 1.8 per cent and China Vanke Co Ltd, down by 1.6 per cent. About 2.10 billion Hang Seng index shares traded, roughly 111.4 per cent of the market's 30-day moving average of 1.88 billion shares a day. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.62 billion.

At close, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 26.82 per cent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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