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HK shares end above 25,000
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Hong Kong's benchmark share index rose above the key 25,000 resistance Monday, on expectations that the Chinese mainland will relax credit curbs to help its economy recover from the worst snow storms in decades.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index rose 908.50 points, or 3.77 percent, to close at 25,032.08, after trading between 24,728.50 and 25,101.41 during the session. Turnover fell to 117.62 billion HK dollars (15.10 billion U.S. dollars) from 119.45 billion HK dollars (15.31 billion U.S. dollars) Friday.

All the four major categories gained ground. The Finance added most at 4.25 percent, followed by the Commerce and Industry at 3.92 percent, the Utilities 2.19 percent and the Properties at 2.12 percent.

Chinese insurers, banks and property developers led the market higher Monday. Ping An Insurance rose 11.7 percent to 62.30 HK dollars and China Life Insurance rose 9.3 percent to 32.25 HK dollars, after recent declines on worries insurance claims would rise as a result of China's severe weather.

Bank of Communications rose 8 percent to 10.08 HK dollars, China Construction Bank climbed 6 percent to 6.20 HK dollars, and developer China Overseas Land jumped 9.5 percent to 16.20 HK dollars.

Chalco soared 11 percent to 13.60 HK dollars, after its parent Chinalco said Friday it had jointly purchased a 12 percent stake in mining group Rio Tinto with Alcoa. The deal reflects a bullish view on metal demand in the country, analysts said.

Chinese e-commerce portal operator rose 13.6 percent to 20.35 HK dollars. Analysts said Microsoft's potential acquisition of Yahoo has boosted investor confidence in the Internet sector.

Traders said they expect the index to continue its technical rebound for the rest of the week after falling 16 percent in January, though investors remain concerned about the U.S. economy and the subprime crisis.

Hong Kong markets will close Thursday and Friday for the Lunar New Year holiday.
(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2008)

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