Hong Kong stocks went up 144.34 points, or 1.02 percent, to close at 14,328.48 on Monday, on bargain hunting after four consecutive days of losses.
Turnover was thin at 21.95 billion HK dollars (2.8 billion U.S. dollars), the lowest level for a full day's trading in 2008 and also the lowest point since August 2006. It was slightly higher than turnover of 18.34 billion HK dollars during Wednesday's half-day trading last week.
Analysts said they don't see the rebound lasting on expectations of disappointing corporate results to be issued in the first quarter and uncertainties in the U.S. economy.
"This year, fund managers haven't been window dressing, which traditionally boosts the Hang Seng Index at year-end, because most investors have redeemed their portfolios," said Adam Tam, portfolio manager at Pacific Sun Investment Management.
Tam said many institutional investors had lost a large part of their wealth in the last few months. "Most of them don't have the funds or the confidence to re-enter the market in the near term." Tam said he expects turnover on the local bourse to remain low in the first quarter as investors will remain reluctant to invest.
China Mobile rose 3.2 percent to 76.90 HK dollars on bargain hunting after a 12 percent decline in the previous five sessions on slowing subscriber additions.
Oil companies rose on intensifying fighting in the Gaza Strip, which was pounded by Israeli warplanes for a third straight day. Upstream oil company Cnooc rose 3.9 percent to 6.90 HK dollars and PetroChina gained 3.1 percent to 6.56 HK dollars.
Conglomerate Citic Pacific was the best-performing blue chip. It rose 7.4 percent to 8.27 HK dollars on hopes of greater synergies with its parent, which aims to reduce overlaps with Citic Pacific's operations.
China Life Insurance gained 1.8 percent to 23.15 HK dollars, after an 11 percent drop in the previous four sessions. (One U.S. dollar = 7.7742)