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Hong Kong shares edge up, China Mobile led gains
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Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index edged up 0.53 percent Friday on its fourth straight day of gains, with Chinese mobile operators leading the gains on a smaller-than-expected cut in local roaming tariffs.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index reversed its early loss and rose 126.75 points, or 0.53 percent, to 24,148.43 after trading between23,446.37 and 24,208.51. Turnover totaled 82.97 billion HK dollars (10.65 billion U.S. dollars), down from 94.31 billion HK dollars ( US$12.1 billion) Thursday.

Two of the four major categories gained ground. The Properties added 1.12 percent and the Commerce and Industry rose 1.01 percent. The Utilities edged down 0.23 percent and the Finance edged down 0. 07 percent.

Chinese mobile operators rose on news the Chinese government cut mobile local roaming tariffs by a smaller-than-expected magnitude. China Mobile, Hong Kong's largest firm by capitalization, rose 0.4 percent to 120.50 HK dollars, while smaller rival China Unicom rose 2.8 percent to 19.44 HK dollars.

Bank of East Asia reported a 21 percent rise in 2007 net profit to 4.14 billion HK dollars, in line with expectations, despite losses related to its exposure to structured investment vehicles and collateralized debt obligations. Bank of East Asia dropped three percent to 41.65 HK dollars as investors remain concern about its exposure to SIVs and CDOs.

China Overseas Land rose 2.6 percent to 15.98 HK dollars. Analysts said China property firms are also attractive at current valuations, after the sector retreated 45 percent from its peak levels last year on concerns about the impact of Chinese mainland's tightening measures.

(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2008)

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