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HONG KONG: Shares in Hong Kong finished with gains Friday, as surging Chinese tech stocks helped it shrug off a weak lead from Wall Street on the last trading day of the year.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed up by more than one percent, on a day when many Asian bourses — Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand — were closed for public holidays. Hangzhou-based conglomerate Alibaba was up more than eight percent, with food delivery platform Meituan up by over three percent, pushing the Hang Seng tech index past gains of three percent overall in a holiday-shortened trading session.

The daily gains signalled some good news at the end of a tough year for many Chinese tech giants, which have been battered by Beijing’s drive to rein in their outsized influence on the world’s second-biggest economy.

The Hang Seng Index has been the world’s poorest-performing major gauge in 2021, down about 14 percent for the year, while the Hang Seng tech index is nearly halved from a February peak.

“The outlook for 2022 remains uncertain, especially during the first quarter because the regulatory risk is not totally over yet,” warned Steven Leung, executive director of UOD Kay Hian (Hong Kong). Shanghai was marginally up at the close, while Sydney and Wellington posted slight losses.

During the previous trading day, global stocks were mixed as markets weighed the efforts to limit the health and economic effects of the latest fast-spreading Covid-19 wave.

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