Hong Kong shares end 0.25% higher

Hong Kong shares ended 0.25 percent higher on Monday, in line with an upturn on Shanghai's main index.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index climbed 54.08 points to 21,416.50 on turnover of HK$38.49 billion (US$4.97 billion).

The rise was welcome news for the market but trade volume nonetheless slumped to its lowest point since September.

Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at KGI Asia, told the Dow Jones Newswires that investors needed "some story to buy or sell".

"Right now, there is no story... the market as a whole is a non-event," he said.

Banking shares were particularly mixed after China's central bank on Saturday removed a lower limit on lending rates, leaving them free to set their own rates in a move analysts said could lead to narrower interest margins.

Smaller banks were hit the hardest on fears the move would spark a price war in the industry, with China Citic Bank falling three percent to HK$3.51.

Jewellery retailer Luk Fook rose 2.3 percent to HK$9.70, following a two percent jump in gold prices.

China Resources Power, meanwhile, climbed 5.22 percent following an announcement that the energy giant had scrapped a plan to combine with a sister company after shareholders rejected the proposal.

Chinese shares closed up 0.61 percent. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 12.11 points to 2,004.76 on turnover of 69.6 billion yuan ($11.3 billion).

"The fluctuation in share prices was caused by funds seeking short-term investment opportunities in smaller firms," Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

Media shares and environmental stocks led the gains. Liaoning Publishing & Media surged 6.51 percent to 7.04 yuan while Shanghai Xinhua Media gained 4.98 percent to 5.69 yuan.

Tianjin Capital Environmental Protection Group jumped 6.00 percent to 7.77 yuan.

Bank of Nanjing rose 0.76 percent to 7.95 yuan, while Bank of Communications fell 1.30 percent to 3.79 yuan.