Hong Kong stocks rebound after early falls

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Hong Kong Hang Seng Index

Last Updated at 19 Oct 2017, 08:09 GMT *Chart shows local time Hang Seng intraday chart
value change %
28159.09 -

After falling in early trade, Hong Kong's stock market recovered to close higher in its first trading session following a two-day public holiday.

As trading resumed, the Hang Seng lost 1.2% to hit its lowest level since May.

But the index later recovered, helped by rising shares in property firms, closing up 0.6% at 23,064.56.

Thousands of demonstrators have occupied Hong Kong's main commercial areas for a week demanding the city's chief executive step down.

The unrest has hurt business and one bank estimates there could be retail losses of $2.2bn Hong Kong dollars.

Hong Kong has also temporarily closed its central government offices after pro-democracy leaders threatened to occupy them if their demands were not met.

China's tourism board has also suspended approvals of new visas for mainland tour groups to Hong Kong because of the protests.

"The cap on the inbound tourists adds to the woes of retailers, who have been forced to close some of their doors in key commercial areas," Ryan Huang from IG Markets said.

Nikkei 225 Index

Last Updated at 19 Oct 2017, 06:45 GMT Nikkei 225 one month chart
value change %
21448.52 +

However, news of measures to help home buyers in China - including reductions to mortgage rates and deposits - boosted shares in property firms, which helped to push the Hang Seng higher.

China Resources Land rose 5% and China Overseas Land & Investment climbed 6.1%.

China also released its purchasing managers' index for non-manufacturing companies, seen as a gauge of consumer spending on the mainland.

The reading for China's services sector slowed for a fourth straight month to 54 in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

China's markets are closed for a week-long national holiday and will reopen from 8 October.

HTC profits

Elsewhere in Asia, Japanese stocks also enjoyed a late rally to reverse early losses.

The Nikkei 225 closed up 46.66 points, or 0.3%, at 15,708.65, while the broader Topix index rose 2.39 points to 1,282.54.

Over in Taiwan, the TAIEX index closed up 1.5%, led by smartphone-maker HTC.

Shares of HTC rose 2.3% ahead of its third quarter earnings figures. The smartphone maker reported a better-than-expected profit for the period, helped by cost cuts.

HTC reported net profit of 640m Taiwanese dollars ($21m) for the July-to-September quarter, comfortably beating analysts' estimates. A year ago it had posed a loss of T$3bn.

In the currency markets, the Malaysian ringgit was one of the region's best performers after investors bought the currency on news the government raised fuel prices for the first time in more than a year.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is looking to narrow the country's budget deficit by reducing the billions it spends on fuel subsidies.