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Hong Kong stocks end 0.39% higher

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HONG KONG, Dec 10 AFP

December 10 2012, 9:33PM

Hong Kong shares have ended 0.39 per cent higher following better-than-forecast US jobs data and another set of upbeat Chinese manufacturing figures.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index on Monday added 85.55 points to end at 22,276.72 - a 16-month high - on turnover of $HK62.56 billion ($A7.73 billion).

The index rose in line with a broad regional advance after Washington said on Friday the economy added 146,000 jobs in November, up from a revised 138,000 in October. Expectations had been for just 80,000 jobs to be added.

The Labour Department also said the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 per cent last month, its lowest since December 2008, from 7.9 per cent in October.

In China, the government said on Sunday that November had seen a double-digit increase in production at factories, workshops and mines for the first time since March.

Retail sales, fixed asset investment and inflation reinforced the view that the economy is on the mend after seven straight quarters of slowing growth.

However, data on Monday showed exports rose 2.9 per cent in November and imports were flat, while the trade surplus sank to $US19.6 billion ($A18.78 billion) from October's $US32.0 billion, and well below expectations for $US27.8 billion.

There is also concern over the lack of progress in the US in talks aimed at averting the fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts due to take effect on January 1 and which would likely tip the economy into recession.

Chinese state-owned energy giant CNOOC rose 1.1 per cent to $HK16.78 after its $US15.1 billion takeover bid for Canadian energy firm Nexen was approved by Ottawa, while Kunlun Energy fell 1.6 per cent to $HK16.18 on profit-taking.

Mainland property stocks continued their recent rally underpinned by stronger-than-expected property sales, with China Resources Land rising 2.1 per cent to $HK21.60.

Chinese shares closed up 1.07 per cent, with investors shrugging off the disappointing trade data. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 21.98 points to 2,083.77 on turnover of 81.5 billion yuan ($A12.55 billion).

"Investors already expected to see ugly export numbers because of what's going on in the eurozone and concerns over the US fiscal cliff," Tebon Securities analyst Zhang Haidong told Dow Jones Newswires.

"Because the domestic situation remains strong, they still believe that China is on track to deliver an economic recovery," he added.

Agriculture related stocks gained. Guangxi Fenglin Wood surged by its 10 per cent daily limit to 7.93 yuan while Fortune Ng Fung Food jumped 6.82 per cent to 5.64 yuan.

Metals stocks ended higher on strong global prices. Henan Zhongfu was up 2.92 per cent to 4.58 yuan and Xiamen Tungsten rose 2.82 per cent to 33.51 yuan.