Hong Kong (CNN Business)Hong Kong stocks are on track for their best day of the year.
CNN has not confirmed those reports. A pro-Beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong told reporters Wednesday afternoon that a withdrawal of the bill may be “too late,” adding that he could not confirm the “rumor” that Lam will announce such an action.
Nearly every component of the Hang Seng was up. The biggest gainers were all property developers, which have been battered by the protests and the ongoing US-China trade war. Wharf Real Estate, New World Development and Sun Hung Kai Properties were all up more than 9%.
The afternoon gains added to an already good day for the Hang Seng, which climbed in early trading. Index heavyweight Tencent rose 3.3% after the Chinese internet giant announced it spent 36.4 million Hong Kong dollars ($4.6 million) buying back shares Tuesday. The company has been repurchasing shares for the last five straight sessions.
WH Group — another Hang Seng component that is also the world’s largest pork processor — advanced 6.3% after Chinese officials pledged to strengthen the government’s support of pig production to stabilize pork prices. China’s pork industry has been hit hard by an epidemic of African swine fever.
Last month, the Hang Seng recorded a 7.4% drop — one of the worst among major global indexes. The index has been weighed down by escalating US-China trade tensions as well as intensifying protests in the city.
China’s Shanghai Composite Index ( was up 0.9% after new data from China’s services sector looked promising. Activity )improved in August at the strongest pace in three months, according to a private survey conducted by Caixin/Markit.
“China’s economy showed clear signs of a recovery in August, especially in the employment sector,” wrote Zhonegsheng Zhong, the director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, in a statement that accompanied the data.
He noted that the US-China trade war remains a drag on business, but added that the Chinese government is taking measures to promote economic growth.
Elsewhere in the region, Japan’s Nikkei 225 ( was up about 0.1%. South Korea’s )Kospi ( rose 1.2%. )
The gains followed sour sentiment out of the United States, where markets closed sharply lower Tuesday after Monday’s holiday. Investors were returning to new US and Chinese tariffs, which went into effect over the weekend. Intensifying concerns about Brexit and the tumult it could bring to the UK and European economies didn’t help.
Here are some other talking points at 3:30 p.m. Hong Kong time:
- Hong Kong’s business activity fell the most in August since the end of 2008, according a purchasing manager’s index survey released Wednesday by IHS Markit. The data reveals a Hong Kong economy that is “flirting with recession” as business activity is “increasingly aggravated by protest-related paralysis,” wrote Bernard Aw, principal economist at IHS Markit, in a statement published alongside the data.
- The US manufacturing sector shrank for the first time in three years last month, according to a survey by the Institute of Supply Management released Tuesday.