February 7, 2020 / 8:49 AM / in 20 days

Hong Kong shares clock best week in eight on stimulus hopes

* Hang Seng falls 0.3%, but ends week 4.1% higher

* China signals policy support after market meltdown

* More HK infection cases; locals hoard goods, Airline cuts jobs

HONG KONG, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s stocks fell on Friday as the spreading coronavirus prompted local residents to hoard goods and an Airline to slash jobs, but the market nevertheless recorded its best week since December amid hopes that Beijing will do more to support growth. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 0.3% at 27,404.27. But the index rose 4.1% week-on-week, its largest weekly jump since mid-December of last year. ** The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 0.6% on Friday. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking the IT sector rose 0.3%, the financial sector ended 0.4% lower and the property sector dipped 0.3%. ** Chinese President Xi Jinping assured his U.S. counterpart on Friday that China was doing all it can to contain the virus. ** The People’s Bank of China said the economy could be disrupted in the first quarter from the virus outbreak, adding that it is preparing policy tools to support the economy. ** The Hong Kong market this week was also helped by policymakers’ efforts to prevent heavy selling in the Mainland, including liquidity injections and de facto restrictions on selling. ** Hong Kong Airlines, the city’s second largest carrier, said on Friday it will slash 400 jobs and cut operations given weak travel demand because of the coronavirus outbreak. ** Panicky Hong Kong residents scooped loads of tissues and noodles into supermarket trolleys on Friday despite government assurances that supplies would be maintained during the outbreak of the coronavirus that emerged in mainland China last month. ** Another 41 people quarantined on a cruise liner off Japan tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 61. ** About 1.47 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 2.25 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.07% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Noah Sin Editing by Peter Graff)

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