HSI Gains On Possible US Rate Cut, Pound Slips

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2019-10-17 HKT 16:45

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  • Investors see another rate cut in the United States as latest retail data was not promising. File photo: RTHK

    Investors see another rate cut in the United States as latest retail data was not promising. File photo: RTHK

Hong Kong shares finished on a positive note on Thursday as more weak US data raised hopes for another interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve while the pound slipped after the possibility of a Brexit deal waned.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 percent, to 26,848.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.1 percent, to 2,977 while the Shenzhen Composite Index was barely changed, at 1,635.

Most Asian markets were in the red, with traders unable to take advantage of weak US retail data.

Tokyo stocks closed marginally lower, taking a breather from a recent string of gains. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.1 percent, to 22,451.

Sydney sank 0.8 percent, Singapore shed 0.7 percent and Seoul retreated 0.2 percent, with Wellington and Manila also off. There were gains in Taipei, Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta.

Speculation about a possible US rate cut provided support to higher-yielding currencies against the US dollar, with the Australian dollar 0.6 percent up and the South Korean won 0.1 percent stronger. The Thai baht, the Mexican peso and the South African rand also posted healthy gains.

Sterling tumbled after early gains on Thursday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's key ally in parliament – Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – said it "could not support" his plans for a Brexit deal.

The pound, which earlier in the day was hovering at five-month highs around US$1.2877 sank to US$1.2750 before edging back slightly, while it also lost ground to the euro. In Hong Kong, the sterling gave up some gains, but managed to stay above HK$10. (AFP)