Hong Kong stocks close higher

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Hong Kong - Hong Kong stocks soared to close up 1.82 percent Monday, as investors took their lead from record highs on Wall Street and were cheered by the prospect of fresh market reforms by Beijing.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index jumped 398.62 points to 22,261.61 on turnover of HK$67.1 billion (US$8.7 billion).

Wall Street touched a new closing high on Friday, with investors shrugging off mixed earnings reports to send the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record 16,583.34 points.

Investors in Asia appeared unfazed by fears the crisis in Ukraine could tip over into civil war, after pro-Russian rebels late Sunday claimed voters in eastern Ukraine massively backed independence in a disputed referendum.

Chinese stocks also surged higher Monday, lifted by a government pledge to further develop the country's capital markets, dealers said.

Hong Kong-listed shares of mainland Chinese companies gained, with shares of media group Tencent rocketing 5.26 percent to HK$504, while China Mobile rose 0.87 percent to HK$75.15.

Financial stocks also received a boost, with China Construction Bank rising 1.70 percent to HK$5.39, while HSBC improved 1.22 to HK$78.85.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 2.07 percent, or 41.73 points, to 2,052.87 on turnover of 88.1 billion yuan ($14.1


The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, jumped 2.25 percent, or 22.85 points, to 1,040.54

on turnover of 85.4 billion yuan.

China's State Council, or cabinet, late Friday issued guidelines to facilitate development of the stock, bond and futures markets, including expanding the scale of foreign investment in the capital markets.

Analysts said the broad policy initiatives contained little new from what has been previously announced, but helped investor sentiment.

“The guidelines led to gains in the stock market as they boosted investor confidence,” Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

“But it will take some time for the government to actually put the guidelines into practice,” he said.

The guidelines also envision a shift in the system for initial public offerings (IPOs) from one based on government approvals of new share offers to a more market-based process.

Resources shares led the gains. Yangquan Coal Industry Group soared by its 10 percent daily limit to 6.33 yuan while Yanzhou Coal Mining also jumped 10 percent to 7.22 yuan.

Rising Nonferrous Metals gained 6.61 percent to 36.46 yuan and aluminium producer Chalco rose 3.93 percent to 3.17 yuan.

Financial-related stocks also rose.

Sinolink Securities gained 5.81 percent to 20.20 yuan, China Life Insurance advanced 2.52 percent to 13.85 yuan and Bank of China rose 1.15 percent to 2.64 yuan. - Sapa-AFP

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