Hong Kong shares hit a record high Friday, amid easing worries about the fallout from U.S. sub-prime mortgage problems.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index jumped 499.6 points, or 2.1 percent, to close at 23,984.14 after breaking through 24,000 the first time to hit an intraday record of 24,089 minutes into the afternoon session.
"It's clear investors' risk appetite is very strong," said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer of KGI Asia Ltd. "I think their earlier worries about a global credit crunch triggered by US sub-prime mortgage problems have subsided," he said.
The global capital market was plagued by the widening fallout of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis in recent weeks, with central banks around the world having to make emergency loans available to banks to stabilize the market.
U.S. President George W. Bush is scheduled to talk later Friday about several initiatives and reforms to help U.S. homeowners with risky mortgages keep their homes. Defaults on the so-called subprime loans resulted in a tightening of credit that roiled global markets most of August.
News the U.S. was working on policies to ease the subprime problems lifted markets across Asia.
In Hong Kong, China Mobile, the biggest stock by market capitalization, contributed 200.16 points or 40 percent of the benchmark index's gains.
The Chinese mobile operator soared 3.8 percent to HK$106.0 after hitting an intraday record high of HK$106.40. It was the most heavily traded stock on the exchange with HK$6.13 billion in shares changing hands.
Property stocks rose on hopes that potential interest rate cuts will fuel sales of residential properties. The Hang Seng Index property subindex rose 2.67 percent.
Investors have been speculating that the U.S. Federal Reserve will likely lower its fund rate in September to keep the U.S. economy from faltering.
Sun Hung Kai Properties rose 3.6 percent to HK$104.00. Cheung Kong Holdings jumped 2.4 percent to HK$114.70.
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