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Hong Kong shares end 0.98% higher

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong shares rose 0.98 percent Thursday, a second straight healthy advance on receding fears that China will introduce fresh measures to tighten monetary policy.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 218.19 points to end at 22,401.24 on turnover of HK$62.80 billion ($8.10 billion).

Dealers have been spooked by recent data showing gross domestic product had grown slower than expected while manufacturing activity was softening.

"But the recent release of weak [manufacturing activity] data indicates continued softness in industrial activity, suggesting that there is less likelihood for Beijing to introduce more tightening measures in the near term," said Patrick Yiu, managing director of CASH Asset Management.

Chinese oil producers outperformed the market Thursday as crude prices advanced after a recent sell-off.

Offshore oil producer CNOOC climbed 2.8 percent to HK$14.44, while Sinopec was up 2.0 percent at HK$8.53 and PetroChina added 1.4 percent to HK$9.69.

Macau casino plays were sharply higher on expectations of improved earnings. Wynn Macau jumped 6.2 percent to HK$23.30 and Sands China gained 3.7 percent to HK$42.05.

Banking giant HSBC was 1.04 percent higher at HK$82.80 and Sung Hung Kai Properties was 0.26 percent higher at HK$114.00.

But Chinese shares closed down 0.86 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 19.01 points to 2,199.31 on turnover of 84.5 billion yuan ($13.7 billion).

"Economic worries have been weighing on the market, but there may be room for a rebound in the short term as valuations of heavyweight banking shares are quite low," Zheshang Securities analyst Zhang Yanbing told AFP.

Cement producers fell on speculation the government may expand a property tax aimed at curbing home prices.

Anhui Chaodong Cement fell 5.61 percent to 10.44 yuan while Gansu Qilianshan Cement fell 5.06 percent to 10.51 yuan.

Media and entertainment firms were lower on profit taking, with China Television Media dropping 4.08 percent to 11.75 yuan and Jiangsu Phoenix Publishing & Media losing 2.44 percent to 6.79 yuan.

And among financials, Industrial Bank fell 1.99 percent to 18.23 yuan and China Minsheng Banking declined 1.97 percent to 9.93 yuan.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130425/hong-kong-shares-end-098-higher-0