China shares see best week in 16 months on foreign buying; Hang Seng slips


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SHANGHAI — China stocks rose on Friday, ending their strongest week in nearly 16 months on a surge of buying by foreign investors, while tech firms in Hong Kong overcame broader equity market weakness on hopes for easing regulatory pressure.

** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 1.42% at 3,284.83.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 1.52%, rising 3.65% for the week – its biggest weekly gain since early February 2021.

** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 62.87 points, or 0.29%, to 21,806.18 amid broad regional weakness ahead of U.S. inflation data due Friday. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.04% to 7,609.56.

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** Automotive shares and the new energy vehicles sector were among the biggest A-share winners, rising 4.26% and 4.16%, respectively, on the back of an 8.19% rise in electric vehicle maker BYD Co Ltd and battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) which gained 5.25%.

** The consumer staples sector sub-index rose 1.58%, as distiller Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd added 2.57%.

** The sharp rises in A-shares were driven by foreign buying, with Refinitiv data showing inflows of nearly 18.2 billion yuan through the Stock Connect program’s Northbound leg, the largest daily inflow since Dec. 9, 2021.

** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 1.94% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 2.25% as hopes for easing policy restrictions boosted sentiment.

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** Those hopes also lifted tech shares in Hong Kong, with the Hang Seng Tech index swinging around from a 3% drop in morning trade to end 1.62% higher – up nearly 10% on the week.

** China’s central leadership has given billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group a tentative green light to revive its initial public offering (IPO), two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

** Approval of an Ant IPO “would just signal that this regulatory pressure that we’ve experienced for 12-plus months is unwinding, and that would be a very big statement,” said Andy Maynard, head of equities at China Renaissance in Hong Kong.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.83%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 1.49%.

** The yuan finished its domestic trading session at 6.6927 per U.S. dollar, its weakest such close since June 1. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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