Tech stocks in Hong Kong surge in shortened trading day for multiple Asia-Pacific markets

SINGAPORE — Hong Kong stocks led gains among major Asia-Pacific markets on Friday, with Chinese tech stocks in the city soaring.

Markets in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore closed early on Friday for the final trading day of the year. Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Japan and South Korea were closed on Friday.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong jumped 1.24% to 23,397.67, paring some losses but still tumbling about 14% for the year.

Shares of Chinese tech firms listed in the city saw big gains on Friday, with Alibaba surging 8.19% and Meituan advancing 3.21% while Tencent rose 3.02%. The Hang Seng Tech index gained 3.57% to 5,670.96.

Mainland Chinese stocks were higher by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite up 0.36% while the Shenzhen component rose fractionally.

China’s factory activity saw an acceleration in growth during December, with the official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) coming in at 50.3 for that month from November’s reading of 50.1, according to data released Friday by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

That was above expectations of analysts who had expected the reading to fall slightly from the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction, according to Reuters. PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia slipped 0.92% to close at 7,444.60. Singapore’s Straits Times index declined fractionally to finish the trading day at 3,123.68.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares gained 0.43%.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped its 6-day winning streak as it fell 90.55 points to 36,398.08. The S&P 500 shed 0.3% to 4,778.73 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.16% to 15,741.56.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.038 following choppy trading this week that has seen go momentarily from above 96.2 to below 95.8.

The Japanese yen sat at 115.07 per dollar, weaker than levels below 114.6 seen against the greenback this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7253, still above levels below $0.723 seen earlier in the week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.49% to $79.14 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.56% to $76.56 per barrel.

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