Hong Kong stocks close higher

Reported by AAP
Thursday, March 14, 2013

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Hong Kong shares have closed 0.28 per cent higher, in line with a positive close for Shanghai.

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index added 62.53 points on Thursday to 22,619.18 on turnover of HK$83.06 billion ($A10.47 billion). However, it was not enough to wipe out the 2.3 per cent losses suffered in the previous two sessions.

Traders were initially spooked by reports that central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said China should be on "high alert" over inflation after data showed the consumer price index hit a 10-month high of 3.2 per cent in February.

"China has signalled that its monetary stance is switching from easing to neutral, which in effect means tightening," said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at KGI Asia.

And Alvin Cheung, associate director at Prudential Brokerage, told Dow Jones Newswires that investors who had been hoping for favourable policies at the National People's Congress in Beijing had been left disappointed.

However, after the losses this week investors picked up some cheap plays.

ICBC rose 1.1 per cent to HK$5.43 after falling 3.2 per cent on Tuesday and Wednesday, while Bank of China closed up 0.8 per cent at HK$3.35.

Hong Kong property firms were hit after local branches of HSBC and Standard Chartered raised their mortgage rates.

Sun Hung Kai Properties fell 3.3 per cent to HK$107.90 and Henderson Land lost 3.3 per cent to HK$49.55.

China Mobile edged up 0.2 per cent to HK$83.35 after reporting that 2012 net profit beat forecasts.

Chinese shares also closed up 0.28 per cent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 6.31 points to 2,270.28 on turnover of 69.2 billion yuan ($A10.85 billion).

Pudong Development Bank rose 1.95 per cent to 10.45 yuan after it said net profit jumped more than 25 per cent year-on-year in 2012, while Agriculture Bank of China climbed 1.43 per cent to 2.84 yuan.

Property developers rose after the government in the southern commercial city of Shenzhen denied media reports it introduced measures to cap prices on new home projects.

Beijing Vantone Real Estate jumped 2.39 per cent to 3.85 yuan while Shanghai Shimao gained 2.25 per cent to 9.56 yuan.

Coal producers were higher on bargain hunting, with Yanzhou Coal surging by its 10 per cent daily limit to 19.46 yuan.

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