Hong Kong - China shares rose from more than four-month lows in choppy Monday trade, lifting Hong Kong stocks, after the central bank said it put $50 billion last week to interbank markets, allaying some fears about a repeat of June's cash crunch in the mainland.
Larger financial counters led the rebound on benchmark indexes despite the key seven-day repo rate spiking to 9.6 percent and within range of the all-time high of 11.6217 percent hit on June 20 - reinforcing the view the People's Bank of China has shifted to tighter monetary policy.
“People are trying to second-guess whether the PBOC will prevent cash rates from hitting end-June highs, but anything can happen in a market in thin, year-end volumes,” said Hong Hao, Bank of Communications International's chief equity strategist.
“Investors need to get used to seeing surges in interest rates like this in the new year. This is the high cost of reform with liabilities requiring more liquidity to finance and refinance, people were too optimistic after the party plenum,” Hong added.
At midday, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings, which closed on Friday at its lowest since Aug. 8, was up 0.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index also inched up 0.4 percent and, if gains hold, will snap a nine-day losing streak.
The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.7 percent to 22,972.7 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the top offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.6 percent. Both closed on Friday at their lowest since mid-November.
For Christmas, Hong Kong will shut at noon on Tuesday and resume trading on Friday. Mainland China markets stay open throughout this week.
On Monday, as big financial counters rose, smaller ones again slid on fears rising interest rates would affect those more reliant on short-term, interbank funding.
China Construction Bank jumped 5.6 percent in Shanghai, while rising 0.2 percent in Hong Kong. Mid-sized lender China Minsheng Bank sank 1.3 percent in Shanghai and 0.6 percent in Hong Kong.
Market participants will watch if the central bank injects cash at regular open market operations on Tuesday. The Chinese central bank has skipped such operations for five straight sessions.
China Mobile rose 1.3 percent after Apple Inc said it has signed a long-awaited agreement to sell iPhones through the world's biggest network of mobile phone users. Pre-orders will start on Christmas Day and devices will be available Jan. 17.
FIH Mobile jumped 5.6 percent after Blackberry announced on Friday a handset production deal with the company.
Italian luxury fashion house Prada SpA tumbled 4.8 percent after reporting a lower-than-expected rise in quarterly profit and warning that its November-December European sales might be down from a year ago. - Reuters
* This story has been edited to include a Reuters correction.