By Clarence Leong
Shares of Chinese travel and consumer companies gained ground in Hong Kong after Beijing eased some Covid-19 restrictions, improving the outlook for sectors directly hit by the pandemic and the broader economic recovery.
In Friday afternoon trade, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index advanced 7.6%, while the city's benchmark Hang Seng Index jumped 7.1% to 17221.43, recovering to levels last seen a month ago. The benchmark index would mark its largest one-day gain since mid-March if it closes at current levels.
China's three major airlines, Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co. and China Eastern Airlines Corp., added between 2.2% and 5.1%, while travel retailer China Tourism Group Duty Free Corp. climbed 7.1%.
Broader consumer-related sectors also strengthened, amid hopes that less stringent rules could help revive consumption. E-commerce platforms Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. jumped 11% and 16%, respectively, while restaurant operator Haidilao International Holding Ltd. climbed 4.7%.
China said Friday that it will shorten the quarantine period for close contacts of Covid cases and travelers to the country, among other policy tweaks. But the government also said it will stick to its zero-Covid policy.
Friday's market upturn came on the back of U.S. stocks' biggest rally in two years, after October inflation data was weaker than expected, lifting expectations of less aggressive interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires