Hong Kong stocks close at 2-1/2 year high on economic optimism after Lunar New Year break

* Hang Seng index rises 1.9%

* China Enterprises index HSCE gains 1.31%

* HS Tech Index climbs 2.72%, HSI property up 3.56%

Feb 16 (Reuters) – Hong Kong stocks closed higher on Tuesday, marking a bull run on the first day of trading after the Lunar New Year holidays with investors tracking strength in overseas market on optimism over global economic recovery.

** Expectation that COVID-19 would gradually come under control and anticipation of strong buying interest from mainland investors as China markets reopen on Thursday aided demand for laggards such as property and old economy stocks, brokers said.

** The Hang Seng index surged 1.90% to end at 30,746.66, the highest close since June 2018, while the China Enterprises Index rose 1.31% to 12,036.15 points.

** China’s mainland markets will remain closed for the Lunar New Year celebrations and are scheduled to reopen on Feb. 18.

** The Hang Seng property sub-index gained 3.56% and the Hang Seng Finance Index rose 2.57%.

** The Hang Seng Tech Index gained 2.72% and the Hang Seng sub-index, tracking information technology firms, was up 0.77%.

** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.56% while Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.28%.

** IMAX China led gains in cinema stocks, soaring as much as 88%, after Chinese box offices set a revenue record of over 6 billion yuan ($929.6 million) for the week beginning Feb. 11 following a movie-going rush at the start of the holidays

** Shares of Alibaba Pictures surged as much as 37.4%, and Maoyan Entertainment also jumped 24.5%.

** The top gainer in the Hang Seng Index was PetroChina , which was up 13.17%, while the biggest percentage loser was Tencent, which dropped 1.59%.

** The biggest gainer in Hang Seng Tech Index was ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co Ltd, which soared 32.16%, while the top percentage loser was NetEase Inc, down 4.47%

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