May 15 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks ended 2 percent higher on Friday, boosted by a sudden surge in afternoon trading on renewed hopes that a cross-border investment scheme between Hong Kong and Shenzhen will soon be announced.
Trading under the scheme, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, could start in mid-September or October, earlier than expected, ET Net Ltd reported on its website (www.etnet.com.hk) after the midday break.
“Every weekend, there is speculation the Connect will be announced soon,” said Alex Kwok, analyst at China Investment Securities (HK).
“If trading does start sooner than expected, it’s certainly good news to the market.”
But some doubted that regulators would announce a start date now, which could add fuel to China’s already red-hot start-up board ChiNext. ChiNext has repeatedly smashed record highs, despite trading at more than 100 times earnings.
The Hong Kong stock exchange dismissed an imminent announcement on the Shenzhen Connect.
The Hang Seng index rose 2.0 percent, to 27,822.28, posting a 0.9 percent gain for the week. The China Enterprises Index gained 1.7 percent, to 14,009.76 points.
After a 13 percent surge in April triggered by expectations of mainland money inflows, Hong Kong stocks appear to have lost momentum and are confined to a narrow range.
“After you have a such a sharp market rally, it’s natural for some clients to take profits,” said Rakesh Patel, managing director, co-head of equities, Asia-Pacific markets at HSBC.
But “from a valuation perspective, Hong Kong’s exposure to China is interestingly valued. Structurally, the market still looks cheap versus the China story, and versus the growth story.” (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Lawrence White; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)