April 28, 2020 / 8:49 AM / a month ago

HK stocks hit 1-week high as lockdown eases, civil servants to resume work

* Hang Seng adds 1.2%, H-shares up 1.1%

* Civil servants to gradually return to work May 4 - HK leader

* No new coronavirus infections for third straight day

HONG KONG, April 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares on Tuesday climbed to their highest level in more than a week, as the financial hub showed some signs of returning to normalcy with civil servants set to head back into offices after the government eased lockdown restrictions.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 1.2% at 24,575.96, having reached its highest level since April 17 during the session. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index gained 1.1%. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.3%, the IT sector climbed 0.8%, the financial sector ended 1.3% higher and the property sector rose 1.4%. ** Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday most civil servants will gradually return to work from May 4.

** Outdoor sports facilities, libraries and museums would also reopen from Monday, although they would still be subject to a ban on gatherings of more than four people, said Lam.

** “There is a restoration of investor confidence as the economy starts to pick up in activity, which is helpful for equities … the market is benefitting from positive news coming out after bearish sentiment lasted for so long,” said Christy Tan, head of markets strategy for Asia, National Australia Bank.

** The financial hub reported no new coronavirus infections for a third day on Tuesday, bringing some relief as the city grapples with economic ruin triggered by the disease that follows months of crippling anti-government protests. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.2% as corporate earnings loomed, but the blue-chip CSI300 index and the start-up board ended higher on regulatory reform. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.6%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.1%. ** Hong Kong’s central bank sold HK$10.672 billion ($1.38 billion) in New York trading hours. The currency is pegged to the greenback at 7.75-7.85 per U.S. dollar and has been hitting the strong-side limit repeatedly. ** About 1.69 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.59 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.63% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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