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Hong Kong shares end up 0.8 pct at 2012 closing high

Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 | 8:12 AM ET

HONG KONG, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares closed at a new 2012 closing high on Thursday, boosted by gains in mainland Chinese markets which advanced on hopes that some city governments were easing restrictions on property purchases.

The Hang Seng Index finished up 0.8 percent at 21,821.9, the highest close this year. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong ended up 1.1 percent.

On the mainland, the CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed up 1.9 percent at 2,297.9. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.7 percent. For both indices, it was their best daily gain since Oct. 9.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Bourse turnover was the highest in about a week as some investors, anxious not to miss out on the next leg up in Chinese equities, poured into some growth-sensitive sectors, reversing early losses for some of the larger Chinese property names. China Overseas Land rose 1.5 percent, while China Resources Land gained 2.8 percent.

* The state-run China Securities Journal reported that as many as six Chinese cities have sought to spur housing demand by making it easier to obtain funds for buyers that could, in turn, support land sales, a major revenue source for local governments.

* Defensive names were broadly weaker on the day, with Hong Kong & China Gas down 1.5 percent, hit by a UBS downgrade from ``neutral'' to ``sell'' after strong recent gains for the Hong Kong utilities counter. UBS cited as a key concern the company's increasing risk profile as it expands into related upstream energy business.

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