Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks added to recent gains Tuesday morning, as property shares jumped after the Chinese central bank and top real-estate and financial regulators unveiled policies to support the declining housing market. The Hang Seng Index rose 0.3%, with the mainland-China-tracking Hang Seng China Enterprises Index up 1.5%. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5%. The advance for mainland real-estate stocks came after announcements of the new policies, including a measure to lower the minimum down payment for second-home buyers, the first such cut in five years. Separately, the Ministry of Finance issued a directive to ease the housing tax, saying that individuals would be exempt from business tax for selling a house which they have owned for more than two years. Hang Seng Index component China Resources Land Ltd. jumped 3.8%, while Greentown China Holdings Ltd. soared 5.8%, Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. surged 4.6% despite posting a small drop in profit for 2014, Sunac China Holdings Ltd. climbed 3.6%, and China Vanke Co. gained 2.7%. Chinese banks also advanced broadly, with China Minsheng Banking Corp. rising 2.7%, Bank of China Ltd. up 1.6%, China Merchants Bank Co. adding 1.5%, and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. higher by 1.1%. Online major Tencent Holdings Ltd. continued to climb, trading 2% higher. Brokerage firms gained after China's securities regulator approved allowing mainland mutual funds to directly invest in Hong Kong shares via the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect. Among them, Haitong International Securities Group Co. improved by 2.8%, Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd. tacked on 1.6%, and China Everbright Ltd. moved up 1.1% after reporting a sharply higher profit for last year.
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