Hong Kong stocks up 0.47% at close

Hong Kong shares closed 0.47 percent higher on Wednesday following gains on Wall Street and in line with a regional advance after the previous day's big losses.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 108.40 points to 23,256.93 on turnover of HK$74.78 billion ($9.64 billion).

The advance was fuelled by profit-taking after the index tumbled 2.27 percent on Tuesday, its biggest fall in three months.

Dealers were also following a rally on Wall Street after huge losses on Monday that were stoked by concerns over political uncertainty in Spain and Italy.

The Dow ended 0.71 percent higher, approaching a record high, while the S&P 500 climbed 1.04 percent and the Nasdaq rose 1.29 percent.

And Steven Leung, director of institutional sales at UOB KayHian, told Dow Jones Newswires the fall was "just a normal correction. The liquidity situation and government policies in China are favorable to both the economy and stock market".

Among the beneficiaries was conglomerate Wharf, which rose 2.1 percent to HK$68.40 after falling 4.1% on Tuesday. Pan-Asia insurer AIA Group climbed 2.7 percent to HK$30.85 and oil refiner Sinopec bounced 1.5 percent to HK$8.87 from a 6.4 percent loss previously.

Macau casinos were hit following a report Chinese authorities are planning to crack down on junket operators who bring high-rolling gamblers into the territory from across China.

Wynn Macau dived 6.8 percent to close at HK$19.44 and Galaxy Entertainment tumbled 5.4 percent to HK$33.00.

Chinese shares ended flat. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.06 percent, or 1.35 points, to 2,434.48 on turnover of 104.6 billion yuan ($16.8 billion).

Despite the regional uptrend the Chinese market took a breather after rising more than six percent since last week.

Trading was also slow ahead of the long Chinese Lunar New Year holiday next week.

"Investors bought brokerage stocks on speculation their profits may get a boost from recent gains in the stock market," Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

Sinolink Securities rose 2.11 percent to 18.42 yuan and Industrial Securities gained 1.58 percent to 13.50 yuan.

Other financial firms also rose. Ping An Insurance jumped 4.21 percent to 52.78 yuan and China Everbright Bank gained 3.29 percent to 3.77 yuan.

Coal firms were lower on profit taking. Shanxi Coal International Energy dropped 3.16 percent to 22.08 yuan while Shanxi Coking lost 2.16 percent to 9.50 yuan.