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Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 16:14
Outside the box
By Peter Liang
Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 16:14 By Peter Liang

On the eve of the signing of the first phase trade agreement that could help ease tension of the Sino-US trade dispute, the benchmark index of Hong Kong stocks retreated in the morning to the surprise of many investors.

Analysts attributed the unexpected setback, though slight, to profit taking by investors after the trade deal-driven price surge in the past several days. Speculative reports on the detail of the deal have many investors worried that Chinese enterprises, most of which have their H shares listed in Hong Kong, may not benefit much from the agreement other than a new tariff reprieve.

Citing unnamed sources, SCMP reported that China has committed to buying US$200 billion worth of US goods, including manufactured products, energy and agriculture. Earlier, Washington canceled the new tariffs and cut the 15 percent tax on US$120 billion of imports from China by half.

On Monday, the US removed China from its list of currency manipulators, a move that is widely seen a goodwill gesture leading up to the signing of the deal on Wednesday. The announcement lifted the value of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, investors’ focus has shifted to the booming US stock market in general and the large technology stocks in particular. The four major stocks in that sector, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet, owner of Google are having a bull run.

Initial success in the Chinese mainland market has catapulted electric car manufacturer Tesla to the forefront of US technology stocks. It is already the most valuable US car manufacturing company with a market capitalization equal to two of the Big Three, General Motors and Ford combined.

Apple is expected by investors to benefit from 5G when it launch a new line of 5G equipped high-end phones later this year. Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet are valued mainly from their dominance in the lucrative cloud computing business.

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