By Laura He, MarketWatch
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks advanced Monday, after China’s central bank lowered interest rates over the weekend, while two separate gauges of China’s manufacturing activity both showed gains in February.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced Saturday that it would cut both the benchmark one-year loan rate and the one-year deposit rate by a quarter percentage point. The move is the second benchmark interest-rate cut by PBOC in a little more than three months.
Meanwhile, HSBC’s final reading for its China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed a rise to 50.7 from 49.7 in January , hitting a seven-month high, on its release Monday. A day earlier, China’s official manufacturing PMI edged up in February to 49.9, compared with 49.8 in January.
In Hong Kong, mainland Chinese banks gained broadly, with China Merchants Bank Co. /zigman2/quotes/209899244/delayed HK:3968 +1.54% adding 1.4%, Bank of Communications Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/203442771/delayed HK:3328 0.00% up 0.9%, and Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204682472/delayed HK:3988 +0.40% higher by 0.7%.
Several major mainland Chinese property developers also rose substantially, as Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/208605330/delayed HK:3333 -0.96% climbed 2.1%, and China Resources Land Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202417326/delayed HK:1109 +0.84% , a Hang Seng constituent, added 1.2%.
In Japan, the Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.18% edged up 0.2% to 18,826.88, its highest close in 15 years. The Topix index /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 +0.49% inched 0.1% higher. The yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY -0.0115% weakened versus the dollar to ¥119.96, from late Friday’s ¥119.34.
Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.32% and South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.26% tacked on 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively.