Hong Kong stocks rise the most in three months to a 10-year high

Hong Kong’s stocks are experiencing a 10-year high. (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Hong Kong stocks rise the most in three months to a 10-year high

HONG KONG: Hong Kong stocks rose the most in three months to a decade-high on Tuesday, led by mainland companies listed in the city, after Beijing kicked off H-share convertibility reform.
The market was also aided by China’s stronger-than-expected factory activity, as well as strong property sales performance during the last week of 2017.
At close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 596.16 points or 1.99 percent at 30,515.31. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 3.07 percent to 12,068.99. The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 2.9 percent while the IT sector rose 2.65 percent, the financial sector was 2.42 percent higher and the property sector rose 2.16 percent.
The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co. Ltd., up 9.61 percent, while the biggest loser was Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. which was down 3.83 percent.
China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 1.27 percent at 3,349.052 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 1.41 percent. Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.99 percent.
The yuan was quoted at 6.4992 per US dollar, 0.12 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.5069. The top gainers among H-shares were China Vanke Co. Ltd., up 9.94 percent, followed by Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd., gaining 7.49 percent and Anhui Conch Cement Co. Ltd., up by 5.99 percent.
The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Air China Ltd., which was down 1.69 percent, Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co. Ltd., which fell 0.1 percent and CGN Power Co. Ltd., down by 0.9 percent.
About 2.44 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, roughly 143.6 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 1.70 billion shares a day.
At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 28.83 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. The price-to-earnings ratio of the Hang Seng index was 13.64 as of the last full trading day, while the dividend yield was 2.9 percent.
The short and one-factor leveraged Hang Seng index, which is designed to replicate the payoff of a short or leveraged portfolio and is linked to the movements of the Hang Seng Index, was lower by 1.97 percent on the day at 4,836.67 points.
— Reuters


Singapore Airlines finds premium economy a tougher sell on new non-stop US flights

Updated 23 min 5 sec ago
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Singapore Airlines finds premium economy a tougher sell on new non-stop US flights

  • The carrier last month resumed after five years the world’s longest commercial flight
  • It represents a major expansion in the US market for Singapore Airlines

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines is facing no problem selling business-class tickets on its ultra-long non-stop flights to the United States but is having to price premium economy seats very attractively, a senior executive said on Wednesday.
The carrier last month resumed after five years the world’s longest commercial flight, an almost 19-hour non-stop journey from Singapore to New York.
The airline ordered seven new ultra-long-range twin-engine Airbus SE A350-900ULRs fitted with just 67 business class and 94 premium economy seats for those flights and for non-stop services to Los Angeles and San Francisco. These flights have no economy class seats.
It represents a major expansion in the US market for Singapore Airlines and a test of whether the carrier can charge the 20 percent price premium that travel industry data shows is typical for ultra-long non-stop services due to their popularity with time-sensitive business travelers.
Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial Mak Swee Wah said there was existing demand for business class which he expected would continue to pick up.
For premium economy, however, he said some markets were not “entirely familiar” with the product, which offers more leg room and other amenities than economy class.
“I think we need to continue to stimulate and encourage the market to consider this product, initially with very attractive pricing, but eventually I think people will see that even at prices which we offer it is a good product to purchase because it is a very long flight,” he said at an analyst and media briefing.
His comments came after Singapore Airlines reported on Tuesday an 81 percent plunge in second-quarter net profit, hurt by higher fuel prices, lower airfares and non-cash losses at its part-owned Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd.
Yields, a proxy for ticket prices, fell 2.2 percent in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, failing to help offset the impact of a 24 percent rise in fuel prices.
Singapore Airlines is offering premium economy fares as low as S$1,698 ($1,230.17) return from Singapore to New York for weekday travel over part of the peak Christmas travel period, according to its website.
That is in line with economy class fares from premium rivals like Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. and Dubai-based Emirates that require a stop and a longer travel time, according to a Reuters search on Expedia.
When it previously flew to New York and Los Angeles non-stop on four-engined A340-500 jets that used more fuel, it had initially offered both “executive economy” and business class but later switched to all business class. Those flights were abandoned in 2013 when high fuel prices made them uneconomic.
A Singapore Airlines spokesman said on Thursday that the airline constantly reviewed its cabin configurations.
“However, at this point we are confident we have the right balance with business class and premium economy class seating on our A350-900ULRs, and there are no plans to change it,” he said.