Company News

Hong Kong shares edge up, tech index shines

* Hang Seng, H-shares both climb 0.8% after plunging on Wednesday

* U.S. closes Chinese consulate, Beijing vows retaliation

* Local stocks firm amid positive tech headlines - brokerage

HONG KONG, July 23 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended higher on Thursday as investors returned their focus to the city’s rallying tech stocks, shaking off fears of escalating U.S.-China tensions.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 0.8% at 25,263.00. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index also rose 0.8%. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking the IT sector rose 2.4%, the financial sector ended 0.5% higher and the property sector fell 0.1%. ** The Hang Seng plunged most in nearly six weeks on Wednesday after the United States gave China 72 hours to close its consulate in Houston amid accusations of spying. China called the move “unprecedented escalation” and vowed retaliation.

** But analysts at Guodu Securities (Hong Kong) said shares in the city have been gaining as a new tech index is to be launched next week. The uptrend should continue if there is no further significantly bearish news in Sino-U.S. relations.

** Hong Kong is drawing a flurry of IPOs of internet companies. News of a listing by Ant Financial, owned by Alibaba Group , lifted shares of companies associated with it this week.

** MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index firmed 0.5%. ** About 1.91 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded, more than the previous session’s 2.39 billion. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 32.76% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)