A rally by Hong Kong property developers showed little sign of faltering amid optimism rising home sales will boost earnings. Hong Kong real estate companies were among the biggest gainers on the benchmark Hang Seng Index, which slid 0.4 percent at the close, down from a 1 1/2 year high. New World Development Co. topped the gauge with a 3.3 percent advance after reporting a 52 percent increase in fiscal first-half earnings on Wednesday. Hang Lung Properties Ltd. added 1.2 percent, while Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. climbed 0.9 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3 percent after reaching a two-month high Wednesday.
Hong Kong buyers have piled into new homes as government attempts to cool the worldâ€™s priciest home market have nearly halted the supply of older, existing apartments. New home sales soared 48 percent in January over December, compared with a 76 percent decline in the same period last year, according to data from the government and residential property agency Midland Realty.
â€œProperty stocks extended gains after some developers reported good earnings,â€ said Linus Yip, Hong Kong based strategist with First Shanghai Securities Co. Pharmaceutical shares surged after China expanded the list of medicines covered nationwide by government insurance for the first time since 2009. 3SBio Inc. soared 19.4 percent in Hong Kong, the most since its trading debut in June 2015, while CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. climbed 2 percent to a record high. Both drugmakers are poised for a sales boost after their products were added to the list, ICBC International Research analyst Zhang Jialin said by phone.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, a gauge of mainland companies traded in Hong Kong, declined 0.2 percent. MGM China Holdings Ltd., Wynn Macau Ltd. and Galaxy Entertainment Group all gained at least 1.9%. Valuations are attractive after declines of more than 10% from a November peak, while monthly gaming revenue growth is expected to rebound to above 10% on a low base, Hong-Kong based Nomura Securities analyst Richard Huang said in an interview. Automakers declined in Hong Kong and the mainland, snapping a 3-day rising streak. Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. dropped 2.8% in Hong Kong, while Dongfeng Motor Group Co. slid 1.3% New China Life Insurance Co. fell 1.4% in Shanghai. Chinaâ€™s top insurance regulator vowed Wednesday to â€œseverelyâ€ punish short-term speculation by insurers and to curb â€œunreasonablyâ€ high returns of some insurance products.