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Hong Kong stocks close 0.69% higher

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong stocks rose 0.69 percent on Wednesday, in line with a regional rally following another record for the Dow Jones index on Wall Street.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 153.74 points to 22,464.82 on turnover of HK$63.36 billion ($8.18 billion), with buying sentiment also supported by strong corporate results.

"The market may have a little bit more upside in the short run underpinned by quarter-end window dressing and a raft of mostly solid corporate earnings," Prudential Brokerage associate director Alvin Cheung told Dow Jones Newswires.

However, he added: "The Cyprus problem hasn't completely gone away and China's monetary stance is switching from easing to tightening."

Wall Street provided the catalyst for buying as the Dow rose 0.77 percent to end at a new record, while the S&P 500 added 0.78 percent to close just two points shy of its own all-time high set in October 2007.

US dealers were lifted by data showing durable goods orders for February rose solidly, while a survey revealed home prices jumped 8.1 percent in 20 leading US cities for the 12 months to January, the highest year-on-year increase since mid-2006.

In Hong Kong trade Bank of China closed up 2.0 percent at HK$3.62 after saying net profit rose 12 percent in 2012, beating forecasts.

And Hutchison Whampoa added 1.5 percent to HK$81.95 after enjoying a 19 percent increase in 2012 underlying profit, while Wharf rallied 7.0 percent to HK$68.95 on the back of pre-tax profits from property sales more than doubling.

Sinopec rose 2.0 percent to HK$9.10 while Macau casino operator Sands China closed up 2.2 percent at HK$40.80 and Melco Crown rose 2.1% to HK$59.40.

Chinese shares ended up 0.16 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 3.59 points to 2,301.26 on turnover of 85.7 billion yuan ($13.8 billion).

Despite the gains investors are concerned about a share glut if China's securities regulator resumes initial public offerings after suspending them for nearly five months, analysts said.

Auto makers were higher on hopes that a fuel price cut will boost vehicle sales. Yangzhou Yaxing Motor Coach rose 2.87 percent to 6.80 yuan while SAIC Motor climbed 0.81 percent to 14.92 yuan.

Property developers extended gains, with Gemdale gaining 1.67 percent to 6.70 yuan while Poly Real Estate rose 1.17 percent to 12.06 yuan.

Steel firms were up on bargain hunting. Funshun Special Steel jumped 2.85 percent to 6.14 yuan while Fangda Special Steel Technology rose 1.14 percent to 4.43 yuan.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130327/hong-kong-stocks-close-069-higher-0