Hong Kong shares advanced Thursday, following solid gains on Wall Street overnight on hopes that major central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve might act to tackle deteriorating global economic conditions.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.85 percent, or 157.76 points, to 18,678.29, and Chinese Shanghai Composite declined 0.71 percent on slowdown concerns.
U.S. stocks recorded their biggest one-day gains of the year Wednesday as market participants interpreted comments from policy makers in the U.S. and Europe as a signal that the central banks would implement further measures to support the global economy. All the three major indices gained more than 2.3 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 2.37 percent and the S&P 500 gained 2.30 percent while Nasdaq 100 climbed 2.40 percent.
Comments from Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart lifted hopes for further stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Further monetary actions to support the recovery will certainly need to be considered if modest domestic growth is no longer realistic. The situation we face requires that the [Fed's rate-setting committee] maintain a state of readiness to respond to financial or economic instability should the need arise, said Lockhart in a report by the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate steady for the sixth consecutive month. But President Draghi noted that he stands ready to act if needed, which implies that rate cuts could be implemented very soon if the economy deteriorates further.
Blue chip and banking companies' shares rallied in Hong Kong. Wharf Holdings Ltd gained 4.87 percent and Esprit Holdings advanced 1.28 percent while Cnooc Ltd rose 1.89 percent.
Bank of China advanced 0.71 percent and Agricultural Bank of China gained 0.64 percent after China announced it would postpone bringing in tighter capital rules until the beginning of the next year to avoid squeezing credit conditions.
Chinese Estates Holdings declined 2.22 percent on news that the government of Macau has decided to seize the plot of land where luxury residential project La Scala is being built.
In Shanghai, China Life Insurance declined 1.77 percent and PetroChina Co. fell 0.39 percent while Agricultural Bank of China Ltd declined 0.38 percent despite the news that China will delay the implementation of new and stricter capital rules until next year.