HK stocks end 1.12 pct higher tracking Chinese mainland, U.S. markets

21:48, December 23, 2009      

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Hong Kong stocks closed 1.12 percent higher on Wednesday, tracking gains on the Wall street overnight and Chinese mainland's market.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index rose 236.70 points, or 1.12 percent, to 21,328.74 after trading between 21,017.02 and 21,339. 18 during the session. Turnover fell to 44.19 billion HK dollars ( 5.70 billion U.S. dollars) from Tuesday's 45.96 billion HK dollars (5.93 billion U.S. dollars).

Gains in the U.S. and China bolstered the local market. Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.49 percent to 10,464.93 following a bigger-than-expected rise in existing-home sales for November.

In Chinese mainland's market, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended up 0.76 percent at 3,073.78 led by retailers on hopes of strong sales during the spring festival holiday in February and steel makers on expectations of rising prices.

Chinese financial companies led the gains on bargain hunting in Hong Kong. Analysts said investors favor the firms because of their long-term growth prospects.

China Construction Bank rose 1.6 percent to 6.51 HK dollars after it fell 6.4 percent in the previous six sessions. Bank of China rose 2.2 percent to 4.18 HK dollars after it lost 4.2 percent in the same period. ICBC gained 1.6 percent to 6.37 HK dollars after it fell 3.1 percent in the same time.

China Life Insurance rose 1.6 percent to 37.45 HK dollars after a 7.2 percent drop in the last six sessions and Ping An Insurance was up 0.8 percent to 66.80 HK dollars after a 4.7 percent fall in the same period.

Heavyweight HSBC Holdings was up 0.75 percent after BNP Paribas delivered upbeat comment and reiterated Buy on the bank. HKEX was up 1.11 percent.

The benchmark Hang Seng index has risen 48 percent since the start of this year.

Analysts said they expect the local market to trade in a tight range between 21,000 and 21,400 before the end of the year.

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