HONG KONG, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Strong rallies in neighboring markets, along with the news that mainland individual investors was likely to be allowed more freedom in cross-border investing activities, helped Hong Kong stocks surge sharply on Monday.
Regional markets were hugely pushed by U.S. Federal Reserve's surprise move on Friday to announce a half-percentage point discount rate cut but leave its benchmark federal funds rate unchanged, with Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index opening at 21,140.73 points, 753.6 points higher than Friday's close at 20,387.13.
The index once lost part of its gains in the morning session but maintained its strength into the afternoon before closing at 21,595.63, representing a growth of 1,208.5 points or 5.93 percent, one of the benchmark's biggest one-day gains.
The index moved between the day high of 21,608.34 and day low of 20,901.64 on a total turnover of 105.33 billion HK dollars (13.49 billion U.S. dollars), which was slightly down from Friday's 115.88 billion HK dollars (14.86 billion U.S. dollars).
Traders said the index was likely to remain below 22,000 in short term on lingering concerns about potential global credit crunch resulting from U.S. subprime problems.
All the subindices on the Hong Kong bourse were gainers Monday, with the finance sector moving up strongly by 6.18 percent to close at 34,000.15.
Banks rose after the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of China announced Monday its decision to allow individual investors more freedom to directly invest in Hong Kong's securities as a trial, although it was still only a trial.
Banking giant HSBC Holdings went up 3.02 percent to 139.9 HK dollars a share while China Construction Bank recorded an increase of 11.68 percent to 5.45 HK dollars and Bank of China picked up 10.88 percent to 3.77 HK dollars a share.
China Life surged 9.42 percent to close at 30.2 HK dollars and Ping An added 8.94 percent to close the day's trading at 63.35 HK dollars.
China Mobile, the largest constituent on the Hang Seng Index, grew by 8.46 percent to 87.85 HK dollars upon report of a surge in its number of new subscribers in July.
The properties sub-index went up 1,068.61 points or 4.53 percent at 24,668.16.
The commerce and industry issues went up 724.37 points or 6.44 percent to 11,971.22.
The utilities sub-index soared 689.61 points or 2 percent at 35,165.41.