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HK shares end losing streak with slight rise

HONG Kong shares snapped a four-day losing streak with a 0.81-percent recovery yesterday, on encouraging United States economic data, but trading remained cautious ahead of mid-year business and economic trends.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index ended 144.27 points higher at 17,920.93, off an intraday high of 18,015.11 and still 5.1 percent below the week-earlier level of 18,889.68.

Kenny Tang, research head at Redford Securities, said he saw the index consolidating around the 18,500 level before a rally next month, with window-dressing by traders providing underlying support through the rest of this month.

"The US market failed to provide a clear direction for us (Friday)," Tang said. "But we may see more window-dressing at current levels and ahead of a rally. We may see a rally in July on fund inflows, as money supply may be boosted by the central banks in Chinese mainland and the US as part of their stimulus measures for the economy."

The China Enterprises Index of top mainland companies gained 0.84 percent or 87.54 points to end at 10,509.85.

Turnover dropped to HK$62.9 billion (US$8.12 billion) from Thursday's HK$63.64 billion.

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing CEO Paul Chow on Thursday said the exchange would consult the market about launching a new derivative contract called "flexible options" in September or October. With the new product, HKEx aims to draw 10 percent of turnover on the over-the-counter market to the HKEx platform, Chow said.

Top banks bounced back from recent falls, with China Construction Bank rising 3.8 percent and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China regaining 1.2 percent.

Oil refiner Sinopec Corp rose 2.5 percent to HK$5.65, off a high of HK$5.79 as oil gained toward US$72 per barrel yesterday, extending its gains of a day earlier on bullish US economic data and supply concerns in OPEC member Nigeria.

The Chinese oil group is also in competition with Korea National Oil Co to take over Swiss oil and gas explorer Addax Petroleum, according to sources.

Huabao International added 2.3 percent after the tobacco flavors producer on Thursday achieved a 29.3-percent increase in net earnings for the year ended March to HK$1.11 billion.


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