Hong Kong benchmark closes at highest since December

HONG KONG- Hong Kong's benchmark index jumped to its highest in nearly 7-1/2 months on Tuesday, helped by stronger Chinese markets on the mainland and recent fund inflows which pushed up the territory's blue-chip stocks.

The Hang Seng Index rose 1.7 per cent to 23,782.11 points, its highest since Dec. 9. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 2.4 per cent to close at its highest since Jan. 2. Gains were seen across the board. Index heavyweights HSBC Holdings PLC added 1.3 per cent and insurer AIA 3.3 per cent. Tencent Holdings spiked 2.1 per cent, partly lifted by peer Baidu's record high close in New York.

Leading boosts on the H-share index were China's two oil giants. PetroChina rose 3.2 per cent, while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp put on 3.6 per cent.

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Aaj Kal