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HONG KONG, Jan 30 AFP

January 30 2013, 8:56PM

Hong Kong shares have ended up 0.71 per cent, hitting around 21-month highs, after the Dow closed just shy of its record finish.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index on Wednesday added 166.89 points to 23,822.06 - its highest close since April 2011 - on turnover of HK$76.13 billion ($A9.43 billion).

Wednesday's gain puts the index up 5.1 per cent so far in 2013.

Dealers took their cue from Wall Street, where the Dow rose 0.52 per cent to finish just 1.5 per cent below its all-time closing high seen in October 2007, despite a lack of buying incentives and a weak consumer confidence reading.

Support was also provided by a third straight rally on mainland markets after an official at China's securities regulatory body said it was considering allowing Taiwan institutional investors more access to capital markets.

In Hong Kong, ICBC rebounded 0.5 per cent to $HK5.85 after falling 2.2 per cent on Tuesday on news that Goldman Sachs sold around $US1 billion ($A960.48 million) worth of shares in China's largest lender.

Chalco rose 0.3 per cent to $HK3.76 despite issuing a profit warning, while French beauty and personal care product maker L'Occitane tumbled 6.5 per cent to $HK23.55 after a fiscal third-quarter business update.

Chinese shares closed up 1.00 per cent at an eight-month high.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index jumped 23.50 points to 2,382.48 on turnover of 124.9 billion yuan ($A19.31 billion).

"The news on relaxing restrictions on the quota program for Taiwanese investors will likely benefit the stock market in the long run," Haitong Securities analyst Zhang Qi told AFP.

Toll road operators rose on bargain hunting and an expected boost during the Chinese Lunar New Year next month.

Hubei Chutian Expressway surged by nearly its 10 per cent daily limit to 3.32 yuan and Henan Zhongyuan Expressway jumped 6.78 per cent to 2.52 yuan.

And among property developers Gemdale soared nearly 10 per cent to 7.84 yuan, while Poly Real Estate rose 3.0 per cent to 14.09 yuan.