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Hong Kong shares climb to record high, led by China Netcom

Hong Kong shares climb to record high, led by China Netcom

Hong Kong shares surged to hit a record high Wednesday, led blue-chip phone company China Netcom and Hong Kong-listed Chinese financial stocks.
The Hang Seng Index rose 405.21 points, or 2.1 percent, to end at 19,725.73, surpassing the record 19,320.52 close last Friday.
China Netcom sharply outran the broader market, jumping 30.8 percent to HK$25.45 on speculation that it may buy assets from rival China Unicom, which jumped nearly 8 percent to HK$11.40.
The spike in the phone company stocks came even though both companies issued statements saying there were no ongoing negotiations in relation to acquisitions.
Chinese financial stocks also soared following a recent rally on the domestic market, as well as proposed tax policies on the mainland.
Financial firm China Life jumped 11.7 percent to HK$27.20, while Ping An soared 17.2 percent to HK$44.90. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China surged 13.2 percent to HK$4.98.
Traders said the uptrend of Hong Kong-listed Chinese stocks would continue, as China is looking into imposing a unified tax rate of 25 percent for local and foreign companies.
Under the current policy, mainland companies pay a corporate tax rate of 33 percent, while foreign companies enjoy a preferential tax rate of about 15 percent.
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