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Hong Kong shares end up 0.15%

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hong Kong shares rose 0.15 percent Monday as below-forecast US growth data raised hopes the Federal Reserve will hold off bringing an end to its huge easing policy any time soon.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 33.06 points to end at 22,580.77 on turnover of HK$42.86 billion ($5.53 billion). The index rallied 2.4 percent last week.

Trade was quiet, with Shanghai closed for a public holiday and Hong Kong set for a May Day break on Wednesday.

On Friday Washington released data showing the world's biggest economy expanded 2.5 percent in the January-March quarter.

While the figures from the Commerce Department marked a solid rebound from 0.4 percent growth in the previous three months, they were lower than the 2.8 percent economists had predicted.

The US economy has been hit by the "sequester" spending cuts worth tens of billions of dollars that kicked in at the start of March and which lawmakers are no closer to resolving owing to political gridlock.

However, the results reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve would not tighten monetary policy worth tens-of-billions of dollars in the near future. Eyes are now on the Fed's two-day policy board meeting beginning on Tuesday.

China Construction Bank rose 1.1 percent to HK$6.45 after its first-quarter net profit increased 16 percent, the best among the big four state-owned lenders.

ICBC bank closed up 0.2 percent at HK$5.42 after posting a 12 percent rise in net profit for the same period.

However, China Coal Energy sank 6.2 percent to HK$5.91 as January-March net profit slumped 38 percent.

China Eastern Airlines fell 4.3 percent to HK$3.10, while clothing retailer Esprit jumped 4.8 percent to HK$10.52.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130429/hong-kong-shares-end-015