Hong Kong, Shanghai stocks up despite virus jitters - RTHK
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Hong Kong, Shanghai stocks up despite virus jitters

2020-02-17 HKT 09:46
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  • The HSI rose even as analysts worry about the potential economic fallout from the growing outbreak. File photo: RTHK
    The HSI rose even as analysts worry about the potential economic fallout from the growing outbreak. File photo: RTHK
Hong Kong stocks ended the morning session higher on Monday, as investors mull the potential economic fallout from the spreading coronavirus.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent, to 27,940 by the break.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.3 percent, to 2,955 while the Shenzhen Composite Index soared 2.2 percent, to 1,819.

But other Asian markets were weighed down after China said the infections topped 70,500.

While investors are comforted by a slowdown in new infections outside hardest-hit Hubei province in recent days, they might be less sanguine if China's economy takes a worse-than-expected hit, said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp.

"If it comes out bad enough for confidence to plummet, investors could quickly find themselves up the creek ... without a paddle," Innes said in a commentary.

"Financial markets are not known for their rational thinking lately and given the 500 million or so mainlanders affected by the (Covid-19) quarantine ... it's also not hard to come up with more downside risks than upside ones right now."

There was more grim news on Monday. Japan's economy suffered its worst quarterly contraction in more than five years, while Singapore cut its growth forecast for this year as the virus batters the city-state's tourism and trade.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.6 percent after the economy shrank 1.6 percent in the three months to December from the previous quarter, even before the novel coronavirus outbreak in China hit Japan, official data showed.

Elsewhere, Sydney fell 0.1 percent, Taipei shed 0.51 percent and Seoul was flat. (AFP)

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Last updated: 2020-02-17 HKT 13:00