February 4, 2020 / 9:02 AM / 12 days ago

Hong Kong shares rise on China policy support

* Hang Seng rises 1.2%, H-shares up 1.6%

* China’s central bank calms nerves, pumps cash

* Coronavirus claims first life in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks climbed for a second straight session on Tuesday, as measures by China’s central bank calmed investors concerned about the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 1.2% at 26,675.98. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 1.6%. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.3%, the IT sector gained 3.4%, and the property sector was 1.5% higher. ** China’s central bank said on Tuesday that its huge liquidity injections through open market operations this week showed its determination to stabilise financial market expectations and restore market confidence. ** The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) injected 1.2 trillion yuan ($173.81 billion) into money markets through reverse bond repurchase agreements. It also unexpectedly cut the interest rate on those short-term funding facilities by 10 basis points. ** Analysts said they believe more supportive measures would be rolled out to support the economy if the hit from the virus outbreak deepens. ** “Authorities can’t prop up markets indefinitely but traders for now are taking the cue to buy the dip,” Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, said of Asian markets in a note. ** Hong Kong reported its first death from the newly identified coronavirus, the second outside mainland China from an outbreak that has killed more than 420 people, spread around the world and raised fears for global economic growth. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.5%. ** China’s stock market rallied on the PBOC’s policy support, regaining some ground after the Shanghai benchmark lost almost $400 billion in market value on Monday. ** About 2.50 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.42 billion. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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