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Hong Kong shares end up 0.65%

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong shares ended 0.65 percent higher on Friday, bucking a regional downtrend on bargain buying and as dealers followed a positive lead from Wall Street.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 146.47 points to end at 22,547.71 on turnover of HK$62.42 billion ($8.05 billion).

Investors moved in after the index hit its lowest level in 2013 last week on the back of downbeat Chinese growth data.

The buying was given added impetus by US shares, which were higher after the Labor Department said claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since mid-March. Initial claims came in at 339,000, down from the prior week's revised reading of 362,000.

On Wall Street the Dow climbed 0.17 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.40 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 0.62 percent.

Hong Kong traders were also boosted by impressive earnings.

In Hong Kong China Life rose 1.5 percent to HK$20.90 after first-quarter net profit jumped 79 percent on-year, while China Unicom added 2.6 percent to HK$11.08 thanks to an 89% on-year surge in first-quarter net profit.

Chinese car maker BYD jumped 12.2 percent to HK$28.15 on news its net profit more than quadrupled.

Chinese shares ended down 0.97 percent at a four-month low. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 21.40 points to 2,177.91 on turnover of 65.3 billion yuan ($10.6 billion), the lowest close since December 24.

The index lost 2.97 percent for the week on worries over the domestic economy after manufacturing data came in below forecasts.

China's financial markets, including the A-share stock market, will be closed from Monday to Wednesday next week for a national holiday.

"Investors were reluctant to trade before the holiday, while there was also profit-taking in shares of smaller companies," Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

Financial stocks were lower despite media reports that a few financial institutions recorded improved earnings for the first quarter.

China Pacific Insurance dropped 1.32 percent to 18.76 yuan, Bank of China fell 1.03 percent to 2.87 yuan and China Citic Securities slid 0.72 percent to 12.42 yuan.

Small firms fell on profit-taking, with Tongling Jingda Special Magnet Wire losing 2.15 percent to 4.55 yuan while Guizhou Changzheng Electric fell 1.36 percent to 10.92 yuan.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130426/hong-kong-shares-end-065-0