Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks both advanced Tuesday morning in their last full trading day before the Lunar New Year holiday, overcoming data showing China's home-price fall accelerated last month. The Hang Seng Index inched up 0.2% after rising for the previous three sessions, while the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.8% on the back of a six-day winning streak. Official data showed Tuesday that 69 of the top 70 Chinese cities recorded price falls for new homes over the last month compared with one year ago. On average, new home prices fell 5.1% year-on-year, acclerating from a 4.3% drop in December, according to Reuters. Consequently, most Chinese property stocks declined, as China Resources Land Ltd. , a constituent of the Hang Seng Index, lost 0.7%, and fellow index component China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. edged 0.2% lower. Among other losers in the sector, Poly Property Group Co. gave up 1.6%, and Country Garden Holdings Co. pulled back 0.7%. But major mainland Chinese banks posted broad-based gains to support the market, with China Citic Bank Corp. up 1.9%, China Minsheng Banking Corp. improving by 1.5%, and both Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of Communications Co. tacking on 0.5%. Likewise, Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. and China Merchants Bank Co. headed 0.3% higher apiece. Among the heaviest-weighted index components, HSBC Holdings PLC added 0.5%, and Tencent Holdings Ltd. rose 0.2%, but China Mobile Ltd. slipped 0.3%. Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Ltd. climbed 2.6%, as the market accepted the company's 9% year-on-year profit drop for last year. Its corporate parent Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. traded 0.3% higher. Hong Kong markets were due to open for a half day on Wednesday, while those in Shanghai were due to close for the rest of the week.
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