Investors move in following last week's correction and on strong property sales Hong Kong shares staged a powerful rebound to a 31-month high yesterday as investors appeared to have decided that prices had come down enough during last week's consolidation. Strong property sales at the weekend, hopes of good retail sales during the Lunar New Year holiday and higher than expected economic growth numbers out of China also contributed to the biggest one-day gain in the Hang Seng Index since October 28 last year. The index finished 2.39 per cent higher at 13,570.43 points - 13.69 points off its intraday peak - and analysts said the market was resuming its upward trend supported by optimistic expectations for the economy this year. 'The high level of turnover is indicating that this is genuine institutional buying,' said Trevor Cheung, the head of research at DBS Vickers. 'After the pull-back last week, prices would have been attractive to a lot of investors who are now keen to buy the reflation and consumption story.' H shares also gained strongly, led by the big commodity counters, as China's strong growth environment - GDP expanded 9.9 per cent in the fourth quarter - was believed to have driven up demand for base metals and other resources, analysts said. The H-share index, which had fallen 15 per cent from its six-year peak of 5,391.28 points on January 5, rose for the second consecutive session to end 3.55 per cent higher at 4,905.81 points. Sinopec Corp, which jumped 6.15 per cent, accounted for almost one-third of the index gains, while Jiangxi Copper, Aluminum Corp of China and Beijing Datang Power Generation were up more than 5 per cent each. Meanwhile, China Mobile delivered evidence of strength on the consumer side of the economy by saying that it added more subscribers last month than during any other month last year. The stock gained 4.78 per cent to $27.40 while rival China Unicom jumped 8.13 per cent to $9.30. Property counters continued to gain on hopes that strong home sales over the past weekend will soon be followed by price increases. Among yesterday's top performers were Hang Lung Properties, up 5.73 per cent to $12.90, Sun Hung Kai Properties, 4.86 per cent to $75.50, and Henderson Land Development, 3.55 per cent to $40.80. Retail stocks also had a good run after the government projected that 300,000 mainland tourists will visit Hong Kong during the Lunar New Year holiday, about 30 per cent more than last year. In combination with the fact that they are now able to use their mainland-issued credit cards in Hong Kong, this should give a significant boost to retailers, analysts said. Sa Sa International jumped 13.13 per cent, while fellow cosmetics retailer Bonjour Holdings was up 9.88 per cent. The strong buying is expected to continue today, even though the market is open only for the morning session. It will stay closed tomorrow and on Friday and reopen on Monday.