Hong Kong stocks opened sharply higher Monday after securities regulators announced earlier in the day that the long-awaited Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect program would start Nov. 17. The Hang Seng Index was up 1.8% a half hour into trading, though off some from its 2.2% opening gain. Shares of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. , the city's sole exchange operator, jumped 3.3%, while brokers rose significantly, with First Shanghai Investments Ltd. leading the advance with a 9.6% surge. Shenyin Wanguo HK Ltd. spiked 3.8%, Haitong Securities Co. climbed 3.4%, China Galaxy Securities Co. advanced 2.4%, and Guotai Jun'an International Holdings Ltd. added 2.1%. Banks also headed higher, with China Minsheng Banking Corp. rising 4.6%, China Citic Bank Corp. improving by 2.6%, and Bank of Communications Co. higher by 2.4%. The Stock Connect program, which will allow individual investors outside of China to buy Shanghai-listed shares for the first time ever, had been expected to start late last month, but was delayed, with some blaming the wait on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Over on the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.8%, also benefiting from the announcement of the Stock Connect launch.
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