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Hong Kong stocks post gain in shortened trading week

Hang Seng Index tops 31,000 before Chinese New Year holiday

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares swung back to deliver their best weekly performance in nearly three years, tracking a rebound for global equities after a steep sell-off the previous week.

The Hang Seng Index added 2% to 31,115.43 at the close of trading on Thursday, the last day of trading before the Chinese New Year holiday, capping a weekly gain of 5.5%, its best since April 2015. Trading on the stock market ended at noon on Thursday, and the market will be closed on Friday and Monday for the holiday.

Mainland Chinese markets are shut from Thursday through Feb. 21.

Apple supplier Sunny Optical Technology Group climbed 18% this week, leading gains on the index, after it said it expects a more than doubling of its profit for 2017. AAC Technologies Holdings, also a supplier to the iPhone maker, added 6%. Tencent Holdings, the most valuable company listed in Hong Kong, has increased 9.5% since last Friday. A unit of the social-media and gaming major agreed to invest 50 billion South Korean won ($46.4 million) in Kakao Games, a unit of Seoul-listed internet services major Kakao, according to a filing to the Korea Exchange on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Sunny Optical, AAC and Tencent gained 3%, 3.4% and 3.1%, respectively.

Nearly 77 billion Hong Kong dollars ($9.84 billion) in stocks changed hands on the exchange's main board on Thursday.

Ping An Insurance Group rose 3.2% on Thursday, ending the week 9.5% higher. Its unit Ping An Asset Management bought 37.22 million shares in HSBC Holdings at an average price of HK$79.38 apiece on Feb. 9, raising its stake in the London-headquartered lender to 6.17% from 5.98%, according to a stock exchange filing. HSBC rose 2% to HK$83.55 on Thursday, climbing 4.7% for the week.

Hong Kong's main equity gauge suffered a 9.5% loss last week, its worst percentage fall in nearly a decade, amid a U.S.-led retreat in global equities. The advance came even as southbound trading, a channel for mainland Chinese investors to invest in the Hong Kong stock market, remained closed from Tuesday ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday. The links will reopen on Feb. 22.

"The Hang Seng Index remains well-positioned. Without considering the possible variables, I believe the market will open positively after the Lunar New Year," said Sam Chi-yung, senior strategist at South China Financial Group in Hong Kong. "We can still see resistance at the 31,000 level."

The Nikkei Asia300 Index was up 1.1% on Thursday after gauges on Wall Street advanced Wednesday. Data released by the U.S. Labor Department showed the nation's core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy components, rose 0.3% last month, accelerating faster than the 0.2% pace expected in a Reuters survey. The year-on-year rise was unchanged at 1.8%. U.S. equities started February on the back foot amid concerns that accelerating inflation could drive interest rates higher at a faster-than-expected pace.

Casino operator Sands China rose 1.6% on Thursday after reporting a 31% increase in provisional net profit for 2017 and a 16% increase in revenue.

Champion Real Estate Investment Trust added 4.8%. Its chief executive said on Wednesday that the REIT was willing to pursue acquisition deals as large as HK$20 billion.

Kaisa Group Holdings jumped 5.7%. Its contracted sales for January rose about 3.8% year-on-year.

Sunac China Holdings advanced 6.1%. The company said on Wednesday that its 15.04 billion yuan ($2.37 billion) investment in Leshi Internet Information & Technology, Leshi Zhixin and Leshi Pictures will not be withdrawn or terminated. Leshi Internet, the listed unit of technology conglomerate LeEco, climbed 6.3% in Shenzhen on Wednesday, the end of the shortened trading week in China. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.5% on Wednesday, taking this week's gain to 2.2%.

-- Carrie Chen

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