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Hong Kong stocks end 0.28% higher

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong shares rose 0.28 percent on Thursday, in line with a positive close for Shanghai and reversing earlier losses thanks to bargain-buying.

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index added 62.53 points to 22,619.18 on turnover of HK$83.06 billion ($10.72 billion). However, it was not enough to wipe out the 2.3 percent 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 percent last month.

"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 percent to HK$5.43 after falling 3.2 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday, while Bank of China closed up 0.8 percent at HK$3.35.

However, 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 percent to HK$107.90 and Henderson Land lost 3.3 percent to HK$49.55.

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

Chinese shares closed up 0.28 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 6.31 points to 2,270.28 on turnover of 69.2 billion yuan ($11.1 billion).

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

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

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

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

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130314/hong-kong-stocks-end-028-higher-0