Hong Kong Stocks Seesaw Ahead Of U.S. Jobs Data; Brokers Rise

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Hong Kong stocks swung between positive and negative territory Friday morning after three straight sessions of declines, as the Hang Seng Index eased 0.1% following a higher open. The choppy, range-bound trading came ahead of the closely watched U.S. jobs report, due later in the day. The bourse's operator Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing Ltd. rose 0.6% after it reported a 13% jump in 2014 profit, boosted by the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect scheme and a new clearing unit. Brokerage firms advanced broadly, after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday confirmed plans for a Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock-connect program, saying it would be launched at "an appropriate time." China Everbright Ltd. climbed 2.3%, First Shanghai Investments Ltd. gained 2%, Haitong International Securities Group Co. rose 1.7%, and Citic Securities Co. added 1.4%. Haitong Securities Co. improved by 1.3%, after reporting its net profit doubled in February from a year earlier. The tech sector also shined after Premier Li emphasized in his government work report that China would strengthen its efforts to boost the domestic Internet and e-commerce industry and create an "Internet+" plan to advance the integration of the online sectors with other traditional industries. Online-transaction-service provider China Binary Sale Technology Ltd. surged 5.6%, online-game developer Boyaa Interactive International Ltd. leapt 5.2%, rival Forgame Holdings Ltd. spiked 4.3%, software firm Kingsoft Corp. jumped 3.4%, competitor Kingdee International Software Group rose 2%, and online major Tencent Holdings Ltd. gained 0.2%. Among other market movers, Asian life insurer AIA Group improved by 2.3%, mainland bank China Minsheng Banking Corp. headed up 1.6%, and China Resources Land Ltd. zoomed 1.6% higher. Over on the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.1%

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