World Economy

HK Shares Flat, Gold Edges Up

HK Shares Flat, Gold Edges UpHK Shares Flat, Gold Edges Up

Hong Kong shares ended almost flat on Monday, as data shows that China’s factories suffered their fastest drop in activity for a year as new orders fell. The China HSBC PMI index dropped to 48.9 in April – the lowest level since April 2014 - from 49.6 in March, Reuters reported.

Although the weak data stoked expectations of fresh stimulus by the Chinese government, it also adds to worries that sectors such as banks could suffer from the slowdown.

The Hang Seng index ended unchanged at 28,123.82, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 percent, to 14,459.15 points. Cheung Wo International Holdings Ltd surged 73 percent in unusual trading, but the company said it was unaware of any reasons behind the recent surge in the share price and trading volume.

Sun Hung Kai Properties jumped 4.1 percent, after the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported that the company’s nine major shopping malls in Hong Kong generated HK$189 million in revenue during the first three days of May, up 12 percent from the same period a year ago.

 Gold Rises

Gold edged up on Monday after three days of losses, but the metal wasn’t too far from a six-week low as investors continued to speculate on when the Federal Reserve might raise US interest rates.

Spot gold ticked up 0.4 percent to $1,183.08 an ounce Friday. Bullion suffered sharp losses last week after the Fed said it saw the recent slowdown in the US economy as transitory and was not ruling out an interest rate rise this year.

“Gold has proven one time too many that it prefers to stick to $1,200 amid large fluctuations and I am inclined to believe that the precious metal may slowly edge back to that level just before Friday’s nonfarm payrolls,” said Howie Lee, an analyst at Phillip Futures.

Asian stocks bounced off lows as the weak data reinforced expectations that Beijing could roll out fresh support measures soon for the world’s second-largest economy.