Hong Kong stocks end higher

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Hong Kong - Hong Kong shares edged up 0.34 percent Wednesday, in line with a regional rally following a record close on Wall Street in response to upbeat manufacturing data in China, Europe and the United States.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 75.40 points to 22,523.94 on turnover of HK$73.65 billion (US$9.50 billion).

On Tuesday Markit Economics said its eurozone purchasing managers index (PMI) for March stood at 53.0.

The figure is down from February's 53.2 but the average reading over the first quarter as a whole was 53.4, which it said was the “the best outcome since the second quarter of 2011”.

A reading above 50 denotes expansion while anything below points to contraction.

Later, the US Institute for Supply Management said its PMI hit 53.7 from 53.2 the previous month.

ISM also said comments from businesses surveyed “reflect favourable demand and good business conditions”.

The results followed news that China's official PMI had ticked up in March after hitting an eight-month low in February, beating expectations.

Wall Street surged. The S&P 500 jumped 0.70 percent to its first record close since March 7, while the Dow added 0.46 percent and the Nasdaq climbed 1.64 percent.

Tencent eased 0.35 percent to HK$561.5 and China Mobile added 0.49 percent to HK$71.35 while Cathay Pacific Airways slipped 1.36

percent to HK$14.48,

Property firms were higher after China's state-run Shanghai Securities News reported some mainland cities are considering easing property purchase restrictions, while local developers rose after the city's chief executive said the Hong Kong property market is no longer “overheated”.

Henderson Land Development jumped 3.19 percent to HK$46.95 and Cheung Kong jumped 3.3 percent to HK$134.90, a more than three-year high. HSBC edged up 0.51 percent to HK$79.15.

In China the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was 0.56 percent, or 11.53 points, higher at 2,058.99 on turnover of 77.9 billion yuan ($12.6 billion).

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, slid 0.18 percent, or 1.89 points, to 1,055.12 on turnover of 86.0 billion yuan.

A string of recent weak economic indicators has fuelled speculation among mainland investors that the government will take steps to kickstart growth but they mostly rule out the possibility of a stimulus package.

“Investment sentiment is improving. With expectations for supportive measures, people are returning to the market and buying cyclical stocks,” Everbright Securities analyst Zeng Xianzhao told Dow Jones Newswires.

Property developers rose on the Shanghai Securities News report.

Huayuan Property surged by its 10 percent daily limit to 3.58

yuan and Poly Real Estate jumped 7.01 percent to 8.24 yuan.

Cement producers, which are linked to the property sector, also rose.

Anhui Conch Cement gained 4.11 percent to 16.96 yuan while Gansu Qilianshan Cement Group rose 2.97 percent to 6.94 yuan. - Sapa-AFP



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