Hong Kong shares at near 8-mth high after Fed, but underperform most of Asia

HONG KONG, Sept 19 Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:12am EDT

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HONG KONG, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended a holiday-shortened week at their highest since early February on Thursday, led by gold-related and interest rate-sensitive counters after the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly did not trim its asset-buying programme.

Gains came in robust turnover, but Hong Kong underperformed most markets in India and Southeast Asia after the Fed delayed the start of stimulus reduction, pending more evidence of solid economic growth. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke also refused to commit to any reduction this year.

The Hang Seng Index finished up 1.7 percent at 23,502.5 points, its highest closing level since Feb. 4. The index was up 2.6 percent on the week and just about 440 points below the 2013 high.

The China Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese listings in Hong Kong was also up 1.7 percent, but came off the day's highs. It rose 2.2 percent this week.

Hong Kong will be shut on Friday for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Mainland China is closed on Thursday and Friday for the same holiday. Both markets resume trading on Monday.

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