HONG KONG Feb 17 Hong Kong shares closed at
their highest in three weeks on Monday, thanks to robust Chinese
bank lending data and a rally by mainland insurers after China
Life Insurance reported strong January premium growth.
The Hang Seng Index finished up 1.1 percent at
22,535.9 points, its highest since Jan. 23. The China
Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese
listings in Hong Kong climbed 1.7 percent.
Gains came in relatively lackluster turnover, with much
focused on China Life Insurance, whose shares jumped
5.8 percent, its biggest single-day gain since Nov. 18.
After the market closed on Friday, China's largest insurer
posted a 73 percent jump in January premium income from a year
earlier. That spurred at least two broker
On Saturday, January bank lending figures handily beat
expectations, in spite of a credit clampdown by the Chinese
central bank. The loan news followed earlier announcement of
solid China trade and benign inflation data.
Tencent Holdings jumped nearly 6 percent to a
record high after several mainland and Hong Kong media reported
it may invest $400 million in Chinese restaurant-review site
Tencent and Dianping declined to comment. Monday's rise took
Tencent's market capitalization to nearly $132 billion.