Hong Kong Property Sales of $1.4 Billion Boost Hang Seng


In Asia Monday Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.2% to 22,619 and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched down 0.2% to 9,381. Markets in China were closed following National Day celebrations.

For Hong Kong's property tycoons, National Day festivities will now morph into celebrations over hugely successful long weekend sales. Together Sun Hung Kai and Cheung Kong sold HK$11 billion ($1.4 billion) in real estate, reports Bloomberg. Sun Hung Kai sold all 132 luxury houses at its Valais development, situated in the pastoral setting by the Beas River Country Club, site of the equestrian events of the Beijing Olympics. Valais boasts 330 "Swiss-style houses," according to the company's press release, "making it a Swiss paradise in Hong Kong."

In fact, planners have run with the Swiss living idea, christening the avenues within the development with names like Interlaken, Lausanne, Montreaux and Rigi. Residents will ride into town on a plush shuttle bus or will take a three-minute ride to Huanggang Port where they can easyily cross into China. According to the South China Morning Post, the properties sold for between HK$8,300 ($1,070) and HK$15,300 ($1,970) per square foot. About 30% of Valais buyers are said to be Mainland Chinese.

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Today Sun Hung Kai shares advanced 1.3%, while Cheung Kong, which sold all of its 1,143 homes in its Oceanaire development in Ma On Shan just four days after the project was launched, rose 1%. Sino Land rocketed up 3.1%, New World Development soared 2.6% and Henderson Land racked up a 1.2% gain.

Hong Kong energy producers also headed north with PetroChina climbing 5.5%, Cnooc rallying 4.9% and China Coal Energy rising 4.4%.

In Japan the specter of capital requirements that are even stricter than those proposed by the Basel Committee sent Japanese banks into a tailspin. One Credit Suisse analyst told Bloomberg, "The possibility of global imposition of a minimum capital surcharge of around 2% cannot be ruled out," and a Swiss panel recommended that banking giants UBS and Credit Suisse should hold 19% of their assets. Today Mizuho Financial plunged 5.9%, Sumitomo Mitsui fell 2.9% and Mitsubishi UFJ sank 2.6%, fearing that similar amounts could be required for them and forcing them to raise capital.

A weakening of the yen against the dollar was good news for some Japanese exporters. Sony advanced 1.1% and Casio Computer rose 0.8%. Among car makers Isuzu climbed 3.4%, Fuji Heavy Industry gained 2.6%, Mazda was up 2% and Honda Motor added 0.5%. But other exporters slid lower with Mitsubishi Motor plunging 3.7%, Panasonic losing 1% and Sanyo dipping 0.7%.

Japanese building and engineering companies that reel in projects around the world closed sharply lower with Kajima diving 3.6%, Obayashi tumbling 2.7% and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries down 0.7%. Meanwhile, Japanese real estate firms also sank lower with Tokyu Land diving 2.6%, Mitsubishi Estate sliding 0.9% and Heiwa Real Estate dipping 1%.