Hong Kong shares close up

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Hong Kong shares had their best daily gain in a week on Thursday, helped by growth-sensitive counters after data showing a far stronger than expected trade performance by China in December.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.6 percent at 23,354.3, its best day since January 2. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 1 percent.

The CSI300 of top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed up 0.4 percent at 2,2530.6. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent. Both finished off the day's highs.


* China's export growth rebounded sharply in December to notch a seven-month high, but the spike may not herald an enduring recovery for an economy that had slowed for seven quarters as global demand remains subdued.

* China's exports grew 14.1 percent last month compared with a year earlier, easily beating a Reuters poll forecast of 4 percent and the 2.9 percent growth seen in November. Shippers and growth-sensitive mining counters were among the biggest percentage risers, with Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco) soaring 6.5 percent to a 10-month high.

* Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines were bolstered by an upgrade by Citi analysts based on an expected improvement in earnings. China Eastern spiked 8.2 percent after Citi upgraded its Hong Kong listing from a “neutral” to a “buy” and raised its target price by almost 40 percent. - Reuters

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