Hong Kong's hottest stock in 2018 is a Chinese Agricultural Bank

Hong Kong - Talk about rotation: a typically dull Chinese banking stock has turned into a surprise investor darling in Hong Kong this month.

Agricultural Bank of China has surged 17% this month to be bigger than Citigroup and hotter than Tencent.

A gauge of buying momentum for the Beijing-based lender climbed to 90 on Wednesday, the highest among the almost 500 members of Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Composite Index and a record for the stock.

The rally in the bank - one of China’s largest - illustrates a shift in sentiment as investors pile into financial companies that lagged behind last year’s gains in benchmark indices. Bank of China is also up 11% in January, almost matching its advance for the whole of 2017. AAC Technologies, which doubled last year, is little changed.

Agricultural Bank had a market cap on Tuesday of $204bn, a fraction above Citigroup and closing in on HSBC.

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