Local shares end flat despite Xiaomi, HKEx boost

Hong Kong stocks gave up earlier gains to finish only marginally higher on Friday, as investors looked ahead to see if new US retail sales and consumer sentiment data would sway the Federal Reserve’s dovish monetary policy stance.

The Hang Seng Index opened slightly lower but reversed course to climb into positive territory before lunch. The benchmark gained as many as 222 points in the afternoon. But the rally lost steam and the index ended the day eight points higher, at 28,004, on turnover of HK$153.7 billion.

For the week, the Hang Seng added 2.4 percent.

The day’s blue-chip winner was Xiaomi. The mainland company surged 4.8 percent after a market analysis firm ranked it the second largest smartphone maker, above Apple, in terms of global shipment in the second quarter.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing rallied 3.8 percent, after a news report said mainland regulators are planning to exempt Hong Kong-listed Chinese firms from network security checks.

China Evergrande soared 9.5 percent, following an announcement by the cash-strapped developer that it was considering handing out a special dividend.

Markets across the border finished in the red. The Shanghai Composite Index trimmed 0.7 percent, while the blue-chip CSI300 index lost 1.1 percent. The Shenzhen Composite Index slipped 1.3 percent.

Around the region, Japan’s Nikkei fell almost one percent. The Kospi in South Korea retreated 0.3 percent. Taiwan declined 0.8 percent, dragged by profit-taking in TSMC following the chipmaker’s earnings. Singapore added 0.3 percent. Australia was 0.2 percent firmer.