HONG KONG, October 21- Hong Kong shares ended marginally higher Tuesday following a positive lead from Wall Street and despite data showing that China’s economy grew at the slowest rate since the global financial crisis.
The Hang Seng Index edged up 18.32 points to 23,088.58 — a third day of gains — on turnover of HK$52.51 billion ($6.78 billion).
China’s economy, the world’s second biggest, grew 7.3 percent year on year in July-September, data showed. That was weaker than the 7.5 percent in the previous three months and the slowest since the first quarter of 2009.
However, it beat the median forecast of 7.2 percent in an AFP survey of 17 economists, and some analysts said upbeat industrial production figures suggested the slowdown may have bottomed out.
“The momentum of the economy bottoming out and stabilising is now relatively clear,” Ma Xiaoping, a Beijing-based economist for British bank HSBC, told AFP. “Currently there’s no risk of an accelerated slowdown.”
China is a crucial driver of world growth and any weakness fuels concerns about its knock-on effect for other countries.
Hong Kong shares had been given a lift from a second successive advance on Wall Street that raised hopes last week’s wild swings would not be repeated.
The Dow rose 0.12 percent Monday, the S&P 500 added 0.91 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.35 percent.
In Hong Kong, Henderson Land Development added 0.58 percent to HK$51.95 and HSBC rose 0.26 percent to HK$77.75, while Cathay Pacific Airways dipped 0.14 percent to HK$13.78.
CNOOC dipped 0.48 percent to HK$12.48, China Mobile shed 1.78 percent to HK$91.20 and Tencent rose 0.96 percent to HK$115.40.
In mainland China the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.72 percent, or 17.07 points, to 2,339.66 on turnover of 146.8 billion yuan ($24.0 billion).
The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, dropped 0.76 percent, or 10.21 points, to 1,330.77 on turnover of 160.9 billion yuan.
“Although the (GDP) figure is within expectations, the downtrend in the economy hasn’t been fundamentally reversed,” Central China Securities analyst Zhang Gang told AFP.
“The market is also waiting for clear policy signals and reforms from the Fourth Plenum,” he said, referring to a key meeting that China’s ruling Communist Party started on Monday.
Pharmaceuticals and defence stocks were hit by profit-taking.
In Shanghai, Shandong Lukan Pharma slumped by its 10 percent daily limit to 9.51 yuan while China Resources Double Crane Pharmaceutical sank 5.44 percent to 21.74 yuan.
AVIC Aircraft tumbled 5.33 percent to 16.00 yuan in Shenzhen, while Jiangxi Hongdu Aviation Industry lost 4.33 percent to 24.53 yuan in Shanghai.