Hong Kong stocks jumped Monday morning, playing catch-up with the Shanghai markets after returning from a four-day weekend. The Hang Seng Index gained 1.9% after recent reports said China’s central bank had changed its rules to allow deposits from non-bank financial institutions to count as reserves, a measure aimed at increasing lending and boosting growth.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises, tracking mainland-China-based companies, advanced 4.1%. Mainland Chinese banks rallied across the board, with China Merchants Bank Co. soaring 7.1%, China Minsheng Banking Corp. leaping 6.2%, Bank of Communications Co. up 4.3%, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. rising 3.9%, and Bank of China Ltd. climbing 3.8%.
Chinese insurers also posted siginificant gains, with China Pacific Insurance Group Co. surging 12.3%. Likewise, China Life Insurance Co. cracked 7.1% higher, and Ping An Insurance Group Co. improved by 6.5%. Citic Securites Co. Ltd. tacked on 8.8%, after the firm said it would issue no more than 1.5 billion new shares in Hong Kong to raise an estimated 30 billion Hong Kong dollars ($ 3.9 billion). Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index headed for a third straight day of gains, rising 1.3%.