Hong Kong shares close flat in half-day trade, end 2012 up 22.9 pct

HONG KONG Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:17am GMT

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HONG KONG Dec 31 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended their best year since 2009 hovering near 18-month closing highs on Monday, helped by strength in Chinese insurers and brokerages after mainland regulators said they plan to let them to develop and manage mutual funds.

The Hang Seng Index closed flat at 22,656.9 on the day, shutting at midday for the New Year holidays. It jumped 22.9 percent on the year, ending 2012 near its highest close since early July 2011.

The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong ended up 0.5 percent on the day at 11,436.2, its highest close since March. It rose 15.1 percent in 2012, its first annual gain in three years.

Hong Kong financial markets will resume trading on Jan. 2.

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