Headline indices of the Hong Kong share market were tad higher on Thursday, 19 July 2018, as bargain buying continued on following a largely positive lead on Wall Street as the US Federal Reserve chief offered an upbeat assessment of the economy. However, market topside capped as investors taking profits amid concerns resulting from uncertainty such as a trade war. Around afternoon trade, the Hang Seng Index added 6.35 points or 0.02% to 28,123.77. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 21.29 points or 0.2% to 10,599.75.
Corporate news byte:- NCI sees interim profit to rise 80% -- New China Life Insurance (01336) said the net profit for the first half of 2018 may increase by around 80% respectively as compared to the same period in 2017. The estimated increase in the interim results 2018 is primarily attributable to the impact of the change of discount rate assumption for traditional insurance liabilities, and the total investment income of the company for the first half of 2018 remained almost unchanged.
China Re unit's 6-month premium income up 17.23% -- China Reinsurance (01508) said the aggregate premiums income as derived from its operating subsidiary China Continent Property & Casualty Insurance Company Ltd. for the first six months of 2018 was RMB21,808 million, an increase of 17.23% over the same period last year.
OFFSHORE MARKET NEWS: US stock market closed modest higher on Wednesday, supported by the Powell reiterating that the U.S. economy was healthy, even though he warned that rising world protectionism would over time pose a risk to the global economic expansion. The S&P 500 index rose 6.07 points, or 0.2%, to 2,815.62. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 79.40 points, or 0.3%, to 25,199.29. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.67 points to 7,854.44.
The major European markets also ended higher on Wednesday. The STOXX600 index lifted by 0.6%, the German DAX index rose by 0.8% and the UK FTSE index rose by 0.7%.
COMMODITY NEWS: Crude oil futures rebounded to settle modestly higher on Wednesday, extending gains to a second successive session. According to the EIA, US crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels last week as oil production reached a record 11 million barrels per day. But a drone attack at a Saudi Aramco refinery in Riyadh by Yemen's Houthis supported prices. There were also reports that OPEC compliance with output curbs fell by 27% to 147% in May. Brent crude rose by US74 cents or 1.0% to US$72.90 a barrel. WTI oil for August delivery ended up $0.68 or 1% at $68.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Base metal prices were mixed on the London Metal Exchange (LME) on Wednesday. Zinc rose by the most in 12 months, up by 3.8% on speculation that China is taking steps to bolster bank lending. But aluminium was down by 0.6%.
The gold futures price rose by US60 cents an ounce or 0.05% to $1,227.90 an ounce. The spot gold price was trading near US$1,227 an ounce in late US trade.