Hong Kong shares close up 0.3 pct, above 2-month low

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 27, 2013 08:10 hrs

HONG KONG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares finished just above a two-month low in choppy Wednesday trade, as strong gains for AIA Group offset weakness in Esprit Holdings on a day where corporate earnings came into sharp focus.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.3 percent at 22,577 points after closing on Tuesday at its lowest since Dec. 21. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 0.4 percent.

The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings closed up 1.1 percent at 2,594.7 after falling to its lowest close since Jan. 17 on Tuesday. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9 percent.


* AIA Group soared 4.1 percent to a record closing high after Asia's third-largest insurer posted an 89 percent growth in 2012 net profit, while announcing plans to open a representative office in Myanmar.

* Esprit Holdings shed 0.8 percent, reversing midday gains after posting a far steeper-than-expected loss for the six months ended December as the region's economic gloom slashed sales, and its new chief said the next six months were likely to be just as grim.

* Guangzhou Automobile Group jumped 6 percent from Tuesday's three-month closing low in strong volumes after UBS analysts upgraded their rating on the stock from "sell" to "neutral," while raising their target price by 24 percent.

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