(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Chinese energy firms advanced yesterday following the latest moves to reform the country's bloated state-owned enterprises, but the gains were unable to help Hong Kong and Shanghai keep up with an Asia-wide market rally.
Another broadly upbeat batch of data on the US economy provided some support on regional trading floors, while tensions over Turkey's shooting down of a Russian fighter jet also eased slightly.
PetroChina, the biggest energy producer, said it would sell its stake in a pipeline company for as much as $2.4bn and transfer assets to boost the commercial business of its Kunlun Energy unit.
However, with afternoon bargain-buying kicking in on trading floors in Hong Kong and Shanghai, PetroChina pared the morning's big gains. It was up 0.4% in Hong Kong but ended slightly lower in Shanghai.
Hong Kong stocks ended barely changed yesterday, as most Asian markets stabilised after jitters over Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter jet abated.
The Hang Seng index was unchanged at 22,488.94, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.2% to 10,108.39 points. Kunlun rallied more than 3% in Hong Kong.
And Aluminum Corp of China, known as Chalco, surged on both markets after it said it would also offload a stake in a Shanxi unit. Sinopec and China Shenhua also jumped.
The moves come as China looks to overhaul its bloated SOEs in a drive to make them more efficient as President Xi Jinping looks to reform the world's number two economy, which is suffering a painful growth slowdown.
However, despite the early promise Shanghai ended lower after a two-day advance at 3,635.55, with the energy rally unable to soothe investors ahead of Monday's restart of initial public offerings they fear will divert cash from existing stocks.
The region's other markets climbed, with Tokyo ending up 0.5%, Seoul 1.1% higher and Sydney adding 0.3%. Upbeat US figures lent support to buying, with falling jobless claims, an increase in durable goods orders and rising new home sales gaining, trumping a below-par hike in consumer spending.
"US economic data was in line with expectations and provides some comfort," Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co, told Bloomberg News.
"Investors expect markets will rise after the US rate hike since uncertainty will be dispelled."
The dollar strengthened against the euro as the data reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will lift US interest rates next month, while the European Central Bank considers further easing measures ahead of its policy meeting next month.
The greenback also rose against most emerging market units after spending most of this week on the back foot.
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