July 28, 2011 / 8:11 AM / 8 years ago

HK shares edge up, recover as Hutch, utilities jump

HONG KONG, July 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares edged higher on Thursday, shrugging off weakness in regional markets as earnings-driven strength in utilities helped the benchmark recover most of its earlier losses.

The Hang Seng index closed up 0.1 percent at 22,570.7. The China Enterprises index underperformed, however, dropping 0.6 percent as transportation counters bore the brunt of the selling.

On the mainland, a weak banking sector dragged the Shanghai Composite down 0.5 percent to 2,708.8.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) extended its strong run this week, helped by a surge in aluminum prices on the mainland. China’s aluminium prices have risen 4.9 percent so far this week to hit a 15 month high on Thursday due to steady demand and speculators’ push. Chalco shares have risen 8.9 percent over the past two-days after consolidating in a narrow range near an 11-month low. Traders said the bounce, the biggest two-day jump since January this year, has prompted some investors to ask whether it was time to go short the stock which rewarded bearish bets handsomely last quarter.

* The Hutchison Whampoa juggernaut marched on in the Hong Kong market. Shares of the Hong Kong conglomerate controlled by billionaire Li ka-shing rose 3 percent on Thursday on healthy volumes as market players continued to chase the strong momentum in the stock. It is 11 percent over the past 10 sessions supported by consistently high volumes in an otherwise lacklustre trading environment.

* Power Assets’ strong results gave another jolt to shares of the utility companies driving more investors to park funds in defensives. Shares rose 3.8 percent to a record-high on 2.4 times their average 30-day traded volumes. The company said first-half net profit rose 47.3 percent and came in well ahead of analyst forecasts.

Reporting by Vikram Subhedar

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