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Hong Kong: Financials lift stocks to near 3-week high

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[SHANGHAI] Hong Kong stocks closed at their highest level in nearly three weeks on Thursday, led by financials on bet that Beijing would unveil supportive policies as President Xi Jinping visits the former British colony to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its handover to China on July 1.

Sentiment was also aided by a jump in raw material shares as a weaker US dollar pushed up commodity prices.

The Hang Seng index rose 1.1 per cent to 25,965.42, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 per cent to 10,432.02.

Financial shares rose sharply on expectations that China will announce more measures to link its markets with Hong Kong's, benefiting investment banks and brokerages.

Market voices on:

Index heavyweight HSBC gained over 6 per cent, as Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "equal weight".

An index tracking commodity stocks jumped. Jiangxi Copper rose over 3 per cent, while Minmetals Development surged roughly 7 per cent.

Hong Kong's penny stock woes eased, as the second board , which had dropped sharply this week to record lows, ended Thursday roughly flat.