Hong Kong, China shares close up for first time in 3 days; retailers rise

Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:10am EST

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* HSI up 0.7 pct, CSI300 up 0.6 pct

By Yimou Lee

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI Feb 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong and China shares closed up on Wednesday, with retailers gaining ground after strong data from cosmetics firm Sa Sa International Holdings Ltd and Italian fashion house Prada SpA .

Gains for overseas stock markets on an improving global economic outlook, in particular a stronger-than-expected rise in German investor sentiment, also buoyed sentiment.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.7 percent at 23,307.41. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 1.4 percent.

Brokers said a firm finish in Chinese markets also lifted sentiment. The Shanghai Composite Index ended up 0.6 percent at 2,397.17. The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings gained 0.6 percent.

"Investors are now not so worried that the continuous weakness of A shares will drag down the Hang Seng Index," said Jackson Wong, vice president for equity sales at Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong.

Wong said the market had become news-driven with investors waiting for indications of Beijing's policy direction and for signs of recovery in upcoming earnings reports.

In Hong Kong, retailers rose as consumer sentiment in China improved. Sa Sa International rose 7.9 percent to a new high, while smaller rival Bonjour Holdings Ltd rose 5.2 percent. China's largest footwear retailer Belle International climbed 2.1 percent.

Shares of Milan-based Prada rose nearly 6 percent to a new high after the maker of luxury bags and Miu Miu dresses posted a 29 percent rise in its preliminary revenue for the 12 months ended in January, driven by sales in Europe and the Asia Pacific. The stock closed up 3.3 percent.

"The easing of tail risks in Europe and China leads us to be more positive on equities than we have been for some time, but there will be bumps in the road as stock markets react to the latest policy initiatives and developments," fund firm Threadneedle Investments wrote in a Chinese New Year outlook report.

A decline in China's real estate sector was milder than in previous sessions after Standard & Poor's said it did not expect Beijing to drastically tighten or loosen its controls over the industry this year.

In Hong Kong, China Resources Land lost 0.2 percent, while China Overseas Land fell 1.1 percent. China Vanke, China's largest property developer by sales, rose 2.1 percent in Shenzhen.

Macau gambling stocks fell for the second consecutive day after the city's gambling revenue for February fell short of expectations. Sands China Ltd fell 0.7 percent, while Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd was down 0.9 percent. Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd plunged 4.6 percent.

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