May 19, 2020 / 8:59 AM / 18 days ago

Hong Kong shares end higher on vaccine, economic recovery hopes

* Hang Seng index ends up 1.89%

* U.S. vaccine trial shows productive results, oil prices surge

* Nasdaq to unveil restrictions on IPOs hindering China listings

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, May 19 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares closed higher on Tuesday, tracking gains on Wall Street, as encouraging data from an early-stage trial for a COVID-19 vaccine lifted hopes of a faster recovery from the pandemic-driven economic slump. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 453.36 points, or 1.89%, at 24,388.13. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 1.61% to 9,883.37. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 2.9%, while the IT sector gained 2.53%, the financial sector ended 2.35% higher and the property sector climbed 1.57%. ** Hang Seng’s gains followed Wall Street’s rally overnight after data from Moderna Inc showed its COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers. ** Oil prices, too, jumped to their highest in over two months.

** Many economies could post stronger activity data from May as a result of easing restrictions, but the initial burst may give market participants a false sense of a return to normal, CBA said in a research note. ** At a time of escalating tensions between the United States and China, Nasdaq Inc is set to unveil new restrictions on initial public offerings (IPOs), a move that will make it harder for some Chinese companies to debut on its stock exchange, Reuters reported on Monday.

** Hong Kong’s stock exchange is looking at speeding up the process of getting IPOs from pricing to trading, a move that would bring the world’s biggest listing market more in line with rival bourses, according to Bloomberg News. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.81% at 2,898.58, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.85%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1.49%. ** The yuan was quoted at 7.1052 per U.S. dollar at 08:21 GMT, 0.07% firmer than the previous close of 7.1105. (Reporting by Cheng Leng in Beijing and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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