HONG KONG Jan 28 Hong Kong shares eked out a first gain in four days - but failed again at a chart level that capped index gains last week - as strength in the Chinese banking sector offset weakness in Hong Kong property counters.
The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.4 percent at 23,671.9 on Monday, failing again at chart resistance at about 23,708, its peak on May 31, 2011. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.8 percent.
The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings closed up 3.1 percent at 2,651.9. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.4 percent. Monday's gains were their best daily showing since Jan. 14.
* Mid-sized Chinese banks led gains in the sector after Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of China's central bank, said that the pace and timing of freeing interest rates must consider banks' profitability and capability of replenishing capital, as the two factors affect credit supply to the whole economy. China Minsheng Bank jumped 3.1 percent, while "Big Four" rival China Construction Bank rose 0.6 percent.
* Investors also cheered a plan to double the number of A-share listings eligible for short selling or margin trading, bolstering shares of Chinese brokerages. Haitong Securities climbed 3.7 percent.
* China Cosco Holdings dived 5.1 percent after the world's largest bulk cargo fleet operator said it expects a second-straight year of losses in 2012. Its Shanghai listing faces the prospect of delisting if the company does not turn a profit in 2013.