Hong Kong stocks gain 0.85%

Hong Kong shares closed 0.85 percent higher Thursday as dealers played catch-up with regional gains after being closed for three days for the Lunar New Year holiday.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 198.09 points to 23,413.25 on turnover of HK$57.83 billion ($7.46 billion).

Shanghai remained closed for the public holiday.

However, Wing Fung Financial Group head of research Mark To said despite the rise the index is "likely to trend lower to the range between 22,600-23,000 in coming two weeks, reflecting the cooling sentiment after the optimism in January".

The index was lifted by financial and property stocks owing to strength in the housing market, boosted partly by news that developer Hopewell Holdings plans to list its property unit.

Hopewell's shares ended up 2.7 percent at HK$34.05, close to a five-year closing high. The firm has surged almost 70 percent since the end of May thanks to Hong Kong's property boom and despite the government's cooling measures.

Other gainers were Sun Hung Kai Properties, which was up 1.3 percent at HK$124, while Wharf Ltd. rose 3.2 percent to HK$68.85.

Bank of Communications rose 2.3 percent to HK$6.3 and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China was up 2.5 percent at HK$5.77.

Chinese offshore oil producer Cnooc rose 1.9 percent to HK$15.88 after receiving US approval for its US$15.1 billion purchase of Canadian oil and gas company Nexen.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report --