March 28, 2009 Saturday

Time to invest in stocks and property, says Li Ka-Shing

HONG KONG: - The oracle of Hong Kong has spoken. And his message: It's time to consider buying stocks and real estate.

The proclamation on Thursday by Mr Li Ka-Shing, the self-made billionaire who controls some of Hong Kong's largest companies and carries enormous sway among investors throughout Asia, was made at a rare public appearance.

Exuding confidence, he joked with reporters and looked anything but depressed about the sharp fall in profit his companies reported on Thursday.

Whether he is proved right about stocks and property - and he certainly has a lot to gain personally if he is right - his comments come at a time when stock markets have rallied on hopes that the economic slump may be bottoming out.

'If you have money in your pocket', consider buying into stocks, said the tycoon.

As for the property market in Hong Kong, he said: 'History tells us that if you buy in a slow market, in the medium term, you get good returns.'

He advised against borrowing to invest in what remains a shaky and volatile environment.

Even though they were couched with caution, Mr Li's comments were enough to echo around the investment world and helped send the Hang Seng Index up 3.6 per cent on Thursday.

Shares prices closed 0.07 per cent higher yesterday as investors traded cautiously after the recent bull run.