Shares in Asia closed higher Friday, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gaining 2.3 percent to close at 21,753 and Japan's Nikkei Index adding 1.5 percent, to end the day at 10,035. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index closed at 2,996 – up 1.2 percent.
In Hong Kong, shares in real estate developers soared. Billionaire Lee Shau-kee, who controls Henderson Land Development Co. (HLDVF), sold shares to buy more land in a bet that Hong Kong home prices will continue to rise despite the government's efforts to cool the market, according to Bloomberg. Henderson Land shot up 7.5 percent on the news.
Betting on Chinese investors insatiable taste for bling, Lee plans to buy a building site and a number of old buildings, and redevelop them in partnership with New World Development Co. The properties will probably be as flashy as the one at 39 Conduit Road, which features a ballroom, spa, fitness center and swimming pool, and recently fetched the highest property price in the world. Other Hong Kong developers also gained today; Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (SUHJY) surged 6.4 percent and Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. (CHEUY) rose 3.2 percent.
Hong Kong banks rose today with Bank of China Ltd. (BACHF) soaring 5.8 percent and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (IDCBY) and climbing 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, China's top beer maker, China Resources Enterprise Ltd., surged 8.6 percent saying they plan to acquire a Chinese hypermarket chain and another brewery. China Resources brews top-selling Snow beer.
In Japan, the electronics sector fared well as camera and electronics company Olympus Corp. (OPCNY) surged 9.2 percent and Toshiba Corp. (TOSBF) added 3.7 percent, Sanyo Electric Co Ltd. (SANYY) gained 3.6 percent and Sharp Corp. (SHCAY) gained 2.5 percent. Sony Corp. (SNE), the maker of the much-hyped Sony PlayStation 3 gained 2.8 percent, beating competitor Nintendo Co. (NTDOY), which lost 3.6 percent as a result of poor sales of the Wii.
In China, auto parts manufacturers moved higher with Liaoning SG Automotive Group Co. hitting its 10 percent daily limit and Beijing-based carmaker Beiqi Foton Motor Co. rose 4.3 percent. An ever-improving Chinese economy can only be a precursor for an increasing demand for cars among China's new middle class.
Chinese drugmakers continued to rise as cooling weather increased the pressure to stem the spread of swine flu and manufacture vaccines. Shenzhen Neptunus Bioengineering Co Ltd rocketed 9.5 percent, Hualan Biological Engineering Inc. climbed 4.2 percent and Beijing Tiantan Biological Products Co added 3.6 percent. Sinopharm Group Co. also rose in Hong Kong, making a bet on Chinese biotechnology, a good one for today.
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