Brokers say the plan to use HK as a platform for investing up to $1b overseas is good news Hong Kong stocks got a lift yesterday from news that the mainland's National Social Security Fund will use Hong Kong as a platform from which to invest overseas. Although fund chairman Xiang Huaicheng offered little detail on the overseas investment plans, brokers said the fact that up to $1 billion would be invested through Hong Kong was good news. The Hang Seng Index rose as much as 96.72 points to touch an intraday high of 13,700.94 before it narrowed the gain to 74.41 points, or 0.54 per cent. The blue-chip index finished at 13,678.63. Turnover increased by $1.15 billion from the previous day's $18.22 billion. Heavyweight HSBC added $1 to $129, contributing nearly half of the index's gains. Boosted by news that it had been awarded a $5 billion residential retail project in Tseung Kwan O by the MTR Corp, Cheung Kong and most property stocks edged higher. Cheung Kong shares added 50 cents to $73 while Sun Hung Kai Properties rose 25 cents to $72. Footwear maker Yue Yuen Industrial was the top loser yesterday. Yue Yuen fell 5.5 per cent after it posted worse-than-expected full-year earnings. The counter lost $1.20 to finish at $20.60. The H-share index edged up 10.12 points to finish the day at 4,656.67 points. It was helped by strong rebounds from companies such as battery maker BYD, Qingling Motor, Zijin Mining, Anhui Conch and PetroChina. The mainland's main mobile-phone operators - China Mobile and China Unicom - gained on renewed rumours the central government would merge Unicom's two mobile networks into the country's two fixed-line carriers in an attempt to ease competition. Unicom shares gained 25 cents or 4.3 per cent to close at $6 while China Mobile added 20 cents to settle at $24.45. However, the two fixed-line carriers - China Netcom and China Telecom - were unchanged. Netcom is expected to announce a deal with PCCW today by which the mainland fixed-line carrier will take a 20 per cent stake in PCCW and jointly develop broadband business in the country. Steven Wai-yuen Leung, a director of UOB Kay Hian Hong Kong, expects the overall property sector to improve as companies continue to replenish their land banks and launch new sales ahead of Lunar New Year. However, he cautioned that a lot of institutional investors were still taking a wait-and-see approach on concerns over a strong US dollar and rising oil prices. Contrary to most people, Alex Wong Kwok-ying, a director at Rexcapital Asset Management, is upbeat on Hong Kong stocks. 'The Hong Kong stock market is bound to go up,'' he said. 'We are lagging behind most Asia markets. 'A lot of Asian markets have gone up lately because of the strengthening of Asian currencies,' Mr Wong said. 'There is no reason why Hong Kong should be worse off than other Asia markets.' Mr Wong expects the bench-mark index to rebound to the 14,000 to 14,300-point level. 'The market is waiting for an awakening - once they realise the reality, the rebound will be very quick,' he said. New listing counter Dynasty Fine Wines, due to close its public offering today, is said to have been well-received. A source said the institutional tranche was nearly 10 times covered by last night and as a result, its sponsor - ABN Amro Rothschild - decided to close the book a day in advance. 'This is a very well-known brand name in the right segment,' a source said. Tai Fook Securities, which provides margin financing to retail investors for subscription to new issues, said it lent about $1 billion to investors subscribing to the winemaker's shares. Dynasty Wine is selling 300 million shares at between $1.75 and $2.25 to raise up to $675 million.