Hong Kong shares close flat, China property strong

HONG KONG Mon Jan 7, 2013 8:12am GMT

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HONG KONG Jan 7 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares held their ground in brisk trading on Monday to end just below a 19-month high set last week, with strength in Chinese property and resources sectors outweighing weakness in defensive counters such as China Mobile.

The Hang Seng Index closed flat at 23,329.8, near the 19-month high set last Thursday. The China Enterprises Index ended up 0.3 percent at 11,973.1. Both were also near their most overbought levels since late 2010.

In the mainland, the CSI300 Index of top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings ended up 0.5 percent at 2,536 points, its highest closing level since June 21, last year. The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.4 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Chinese property counters extended their strong start to the new year, with some of the higher beta names seeing bigger percentage gains on the day after Shimao Property became the latest to tap the debt market. This suggests Chinese companies are unlikely to tap equity markets to raise funds as developers seek to increase inventories to meet returning demand, suggesting equity stakes will not be diluted.

* Chinese railway counters and other mass transportation counters rose after the State Council pledged to boost the development of environmentally friendly urban transport systems. China Railway Group rose 2.8 percent.

* Chinese coal counters rose while power producers declined on anticipation of greater coal demand as the country is suffering its coldest winter in almost three decades. Higher coal prices could dent power producers profits.

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