Hong Kong shares close up 2 pct, limit February losses

HONG KONG Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:10am EST

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HONG KONG Feb 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended February with their best daily gain in two months on Thursday as sentiment improved after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirmed his commitment to strong stimulus.

The Hang Seng Index ended up 2 percent on the day, led by growth sensitive shares, but was down 3 percent on the month at 23,020.3. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 2.6 percent on Thursday, but sank 5.7 percent this month.

The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings closed up 3 percent on the day, but down 0.5 percent on the month. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.3 percent on Thursday, but shed 0.8 percent in February.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Thursday gains were the best daily showing for both indexes since Jan. 2, while February losses were their respective worst since May 2012.

* Macau casino operator SJM holdings dived 3.7 percent after posting a weaker-than-expected 2012 net profit increase that triggered brokerage downgrades, including one from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

* Chinese property stocks jumped after the sector's biggest developer by sales, China Vanke, posted late on Wednesday 2012 earnings that trumped expectations.

DAY AHEAD:

* Official data on Friday could show Chinese factory activity probably grew at its slowest pace in four months in February as foreign demand remained sluggish. The median forecast from a Reuters poll of 14 economists showed the official purchasing managers' index (PMI) likely edged lower to 50.2 in February after seasonal adjustments, from January's 50.4.

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