March 1, 2019 / 9:20 AM / 3 months ago

HK stocks end firmer in line with China; MSCI move supports

* Hang Seng index ends up 0.6 pct China Enterprises index HSCE rises 1.2 percent HSI financial sub-index up 0.7 pct, property 0.4 pct higher

* MSCI to quadruple weighting of A-shares in global benchmarks

HONG KONG, March 1 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks closed firmer on Friday, tracking gains in Shanghai market as investors cheered index publisher MSCI’s decision to boost the proportion of Chinese mainland shares in its global benchmarks.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 178.99 points or 0.63 percent at 28,812.17. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 1.23 percent to 11,506.94.

** Global index provider MSCI is quadrupling the weighting of Chinese mainland shares in its global benchmarks later this year, a move it said might draw more than $80 billion of fresh foreign inflows to the world’s second-biggest economy

** China’s factory activity contracted for a third straight month in February but at a slower pace, helped by improvements in domestic manufacturing, a private survey showed on Friday

** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares ended 0.9 percent higher, while the IT sector closed up 0.33 percent, the financial sector ended 0.72 percent firmer and the property sector closed up 0.41 percent.

** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was China Life Insurance Co Ltd, which gained 5.56 percent, while the biggest loser was Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, which ended 2.42 percent weaker.

** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 1.8 percent at 2,994.01 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 2.19 percent.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index rose 0.32 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 1.02 percent firmer.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.7084 per U.S. dollar at 0834 GMT, 0.22 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.6935.

** The top gainers among H-shares were New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, which ended up 6.05 percent, followed by China Life Insurance Co Ltd, which closed 5.56 percent higher and Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, up by 4.59 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were SINOPHARM Group Co Ltd, which ended down 1.15 percent, CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which closed 1 percent weaker and Huaneng Power International Inc, down by 0.8 percent. ** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 24.21 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Hang Seng index slipped 1.14 percent to HK$18.58 trillion. (Reporting by Noah Sin and Donny Kwok; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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