Hong Kong stocks widened their opening gains Wednesday morning after two separate gauges of Chinese manufacturing activity in March both came in better than markets had expected. The Hang Seng Index rose 0.6%, with the mainland-China-tracking Hang Seng China Enterprises Index up 1.3%. The moves came after the final read of HSBC's China manufacturing Purchasing Managers's Index (PMI) for March was revised upward to 49.6 from a preliminary 49.2, beating market expectations but still below the 50 mark dividing expansion from contraction. Earlier, China's official PMI also beat forecasts by rising to 50.1 in March from 49.9 the previous month. The Internet stocks rose sharply, as software developer Kingdee International Software Group surged 6.2%, web-game developer NetDragon Websoft Inc. rose 5.5%, rival Boyaa Interactive International Ltd. gained 4%, and online-game provider Forgame Holdings Ltd. climbed 2.3%. Among the Hang Seng components, heavyweight Tencent Holdings Ltd. underperformed, however, inching up 0.1%. Mainland Chinese real-estate shares continued their strength following property-market easing moves by the central government, with index component China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd. rallying 2.8%, China Resources Land Ltd. (also a Hang Seng constituent) up 1.8%, and Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Ltd. improving by 2.1%. Brokerage shares extended gains from Tuesday, with Citic Securities Co. moving up 3.3%, China Everbright Ltd. tacking on 3%, China Galaxy Securities Co. trading up 2.6%, and Haitong Securities Co. higher by 2.3%. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.8%.
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