HONG KONG: Hong Kong shares on Tuesday climbed to their highest level in more than a week, as the financial hub showed some signs of returning to normalcy with civil servants set to head back into offices after the government eased lockdown restrictions.
At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 1.2% at 24,575.96, having reached its highest level since April 17 during the session. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index gained 1.1%.
The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.3%, the IT sector climbed 0.8%, the financial sector ended 1.3% higher and the property sector rose 1.4%.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday most civil servants will gradually return to work from May 4.
Outdoor sports facilities, libraries and museums would also reopen from Monday, although they would still be subject to a ban on gatherings of more than four people, said Lam.
"There is a restoration of investor confidence as the economy starts to pick up in activity, which is helpful for equities ... the market is benefitting from positive news coming out after bearish sentiment lasted for so long," said Christy Tan, head of markets strategy for Asia, National Australia Bank.
The financial hub reported no new coronavirus infections for a third day on Tuesday, bringing some relief as the city grapples with economic ruin triggered by the disease that follows months of crippling anti-government protests.
China's main Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.2% as corporate earnings loomed, but the blue-chip CSI300 index and the start-up board ended higher on regulatory reform.
Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.6%, while Japan's Nikkei index closed down 0.1%.
Hong Kong's central bank sold HK$10.672 billion ($1.38 billion) in New York trading hours. The currency is pegged to the greenback at 7.75-7.85 per U.S. dollar and has been hitting the strong-side limit repeatedly.
About 1.69 billion Hang Seng index shares were traded. The volume traded in the previous trading session was 1.59 billion.
At close, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.63% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. - Reuters
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