By Laura He, MarketWatch
Reuters Enlarge Image
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Hong Kong stocks extended gains Friday, as financial shares continued to advance after recent easing moves by China’s central bank.
The Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.69% ended up 1.1% at 24,682.54, marking its biggest rise in three weeks.
Mainland banks mostly gained, after the People’s Bank of China pumped another 160 billion yuan ($26 billion) into the banking system on Thursday. That lead to a net weekly injection of more than 200 billion yuan, the highest in more than a year. Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204682472/delayed HK:3988 +2.60% rose 1.4%, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201401473/delayed HK:1398 +4.41% added 1.3%, and China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/209899244/delayed HK:3968 +6.77% moved up 1%.
Among other movers in the financial sector, Ping An Insurance Group Company of China., Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/210315058/delayed HK:2318 +2.78% rallied 3%, after reporting a 26% year-on-year jump in its premium revenues for last month. China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/202359856/delayed HK:2628 +3.09% also climbed 1.8% after its January premium revenues increased more than 6% from the same period a year ago.
Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207609245/delayed HK:1928 +6.04% spiked 3.2%, as its 2014 profit rose 15% , while rival Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. gained 2.3%, despite a decline in its quarterly net profit.
Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +1.33% extended a five-day winning streak, ending up 1% at 3,203.83.
Other Asian markets mostly closed higher, as Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.78% improved by 2.3% to 5,877.50, and Seoul’s Kospi Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.69% settled 0.8% higher at 1,957.50.
However, Japan’s Nikkei Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.22% pulled back from a seven-year high in the previous session, falling 0.4%. The broader Topix /zigman2/quotes/210598092/delayed JP:180460 -0.04% closed flat.
Meanwhile, the yen /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.1612% rebounded against greenback to ¥118.94 from ¥120.31 at Tokyo stock close on Thursday.