Hong Kong stocks have closed up 0.50 per cent at an eight-week high amid hopes of bold moves from the European Central Bank later in the day to stem the eurozone debt crisis.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index on Thursday added 99.38 points to close at 19,809.13, but the turnover of HK$40.37 billion ($A5.09 billion) was down from HK$45.78 billion on Wednesday.
While sentiment in Asia was mixed ahead of the ECB meeting, Hong Kong was lifted by hopes the bank might take extra measures in addition to a widely expected rate cut.
The bank is set to slash its key rate by a quarter percentage point to a new record low of 0.75 per cent, central bank watchers predict.
"The market has priced in a rate cut," Jackson Wong, an investment manager at Tanrich Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
But a "positive surprise" could be provided by other measures, such as the resumption of a bond-buying program for crisis-hit countries or new cheap loans to eurozone banks, he added.
China-related stocks led gains, amid hopes that China would introduce new easing measures to boost its slowing economy.
Leading telcoms firm China Unicom rose 2.7 per cent to $HK10.54 after Morgan Stanley said it expects Unicom shares to rise over the next 60 days.
Li Ning rallied 7.2 per cent to $HK5.03 after the struggling Chinese sportswear maker announced a three-year transformation plan aimed at improving profitability that includes replacing its long-time chief executive.
Hong Kong shares also rose, with Henderson Land up 2.6 per cent to $HK45.05 and Bank of East Asia gaining 2.9 per cent to $HK28.70.
Chinese shares ended down 1.17 per cent amid concerns that key economic data to be released next week will provide further evidence of slowing growth.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, which covers A and B shares, slumped 25.97 points to 2,201.35 on turnover of 52.1 billion yuan ($A8.01 billion).
"Before the release of key economic data, worries over the domestic economy will likely outweigh hopes for monetary easing policies, so the market may stay range-bound," Zhang Yanbing, an analyst at Zheshang Securities, told AFP.
Rare earth companies fell despite a report that China is stockpiling the resource, which could help stabilise slumping prices.
Xiamen Tungsten dropped 3.69 per cent to 43.33 yuan, Baotou Steel Rare-Earth fell 3.10 per cent to 39.39 yuan and Nonferrous Metal lost 2.89 per cent to 63.81 yuan.
Sichuan Hongda plunged 5.50 per cent to 6.87 yuan after it said the scrapping of a metal plant - which sparked violent protests this week in Shifang city - could hurt its earnings.
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