October 6, 2017 / 8:32 AM / 9 months ago

Hong Kong stocks end near 10-yr high; China autos, banks up but Macau casinos fall

HONG KONG, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s benchmark stock index closed at its highest level in nearly 10 years on Friday, supported by Chinese automakers and banks.

The Hang Seng index rose 0.3 percent to end at 28,458.04 points, its highest close since late 2007.

The index rose 3.3 percent on the week, its biggest such gain in 12 weeks.

The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index rose 0.5 percent to end at 11,459.09 points, its highest close since mid-2015. It ended up 5 percent for the week, the best in 6 weeks.

Chinese automakers remained strong, with Geely Auto surging 5.6 percent to a record high, BYD Company rising 2 percent and Dongfeng Motor gaining 1.3 percent.

Chinese banks also extended gains, still basking in the glow of the central bank’s announcement on Saturday that it is cutting the amount of cash that some banks must hold as reserves for the first time since February 2016 to encourage more lending to struggling smaller companies.

Analysts said the reduction in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) should support banks’ net interest margins and profit growth in 2018.

Bank of Communications rose 1.2 percent, and Ping An Insurance was up 1.1 percent. Home builder China Vanke climbed 1.3 percent.

But Macau casinos stocks fell after the tourism bureau reported a 2 percent year-on-year fall in visitors during the first four days of China’s “Golden Week” national holiday.

Shares of Sands China dropped 2.7 percent, Wynn Macau fell 2.8 percent and Galaxy Entertainment slid 1.9 percent.

China’s financial markets have been shut all this week for the holiday and will resume trade on Oct. 9.

“Selling pressure is expected to dominate when China markets reopen on Monday,” said Alex Wong, a director at Ample Finance Group.

“Mainland investors will lock in gains after the recent rally of many Chinese shares before they look into the upcoming economic data due later this month. The market is expecting a healthy set of data anyway.”

Investors are also awaiting China’s 19th Communist Party Congress, which starts on Oct. 18. The twice-in-a-decade meeting will see a key leadership reshuffle and the setting of top political and economic priorities for the next five years.

“The market dosen’t expect to see much excitement from the CPC meeting as maintaining stability is seen as a top priority,” Wong added. ($1 = 6.6533 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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