Hong Kong shares end higher
Market watch top headlines
HONG KONG, Aug 1 AFP
August 01 2012, 9:07PM
Hong Kong stocks have closed 0.12 per cent higher as traders await the outcome of key central bank meetings in the United States and Europe.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index rose on Wednesday for a fifth straight session, adding 23.57 points to end at 19,820.38 on turnover of HK$52.97 billion ($A6.53 billion) despite weak Chinese manufacturing data for July.
Analysts said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's comments that more "fine-tuning" measures were planned to ensure growth lifted market confidence.
State media on Tuesday quoted Wen as saying the country must make stabilising economic growth its priority in the face of continued downward pressure, spurring hopes Beijing may introduce further stimulus measures.
The remarks helped investors shrug off a weakening in Chinese manufacturing as figures released on Wednesday showed the official purchasing managers' index (PMI) slipped to 50.1 last month from 50.2 in June.
Investors also remained focused on the US Federal Reserve's policy statement due later on Wednesday, with little hope of a fresh stimulus announcement to prop up the world's biggest economy.
The European Central Bank was due to hold a one-day policy meeting on Thursday, with investors keen to see action after its president Mario Draghi said last week his bank would do whatever was necessary to support the euro.
Chinese banks continued to rebound as ICBC gained 1.6 per cent to HK$4.51 and China Construction Bank rose 0.8 per cent to HK$5.28, while computer maker Lenovo rallied 6.9 per cent to HK$5.75.
Shares of Macau casino operators also rallied, as Macau's gambling revenue rose 1.5 per cent to 24.58 billion patacas ($A2.97 billion) in July.
While the July growth rate was the slowest in recent years, some analysts had expected a fall in revenue, which would have been the first since 2009.
Meanwhile, Chinese shares closed 0.94 per cent higher, recovering from a drop the day before that took them to their lowest level since March 2009.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 19.73 points to 2,123.36 on turnover of 44.4 billion yuan ($A6.7 billion).
"It was Wen's remarks on ensuring growth that really heightened hopes for more infrastructure and construction projects," Capital Securities analyst Jacky Zhang told Dow Jones Newswires.
China Railway Erju shot up 8.35 per cent to 7.14 yuan while Gansu Qilianshan Cement jumped 7.68 per cent to 10.80 yuan on hopes of a revival in demand for cement.