Hong Kong shares close up 0.2 pct, HSBC, StanChart strong

HONG KONG Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:09am GMT

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HONG KONG Dec 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares clung to 17-month highs on Thursday, as strength in HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered outweighed weakness in Chinese banks as investors rotated out of recent outperformers.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.2 percent at 22,659.8, reversing midday losses to stay at its highest since Aug. 1, 2011. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong ended 0.3 percent down.

In the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed up 0.6 percent at 2,384.8, its fifth-straight daily gain. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Chinese banks were hit by a bout of profit taking. Bank of China (BOC), which touched 52-week intra-day highs twice earlier this week, slipped 0.6 percent.

* Investors rotated heavily into HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered. HSBC climbed 1.4 percent to its highest since May 2011, while StanChart soared 3.1 percent to its highest since April.

* Galaxy Entertainment Group jumped 4 percent to a record closing high, posting a fourth-straight daily gain after Deutsche Bank analysts upgraded on Monday its target price by 5.4 percent.

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