Hong Kong stocks rose yesterday as Beijing reaffirmed its commitment to economic growth, but the mainland market still tumbled to its longest losing streak this year after investors were spooked when the release of key data was postponed. The Hang Seng Index opened sharply higher after Premier Wen Jiabao said at the weekend that Beijing would maintain an aggressive monetary policy. The benchmark briefly topped the 21,000-point level in late afternoon trading before closing up 554.15 points or 2.72 per cent at 20,929.52. The benchmarks in Shanghai and Hong Kong had dropped 4.44 per cent and 0.96 per cent respectively last week after the People's Bank of China hinted at possible changes to its monetary policy. '[Mr Wen's comments] relieved the anxiety in the market,' said Francis Lun Sheung-nim, a general manager with Fulbright Securities. 'People seem to have bought into the idea that the banks won't be as controlled as originally feared.' Sentiment in the Hong Kong market was also boosted by unexpected improvements in leading overseas economies. The unemployment rate dropped in the United States for the first time since April last year and Japan's machinery orders increased in June, snapping a three-month skid. The Hang Seng Index may meet near-term selling pressure, however, after twice failing to hold above the 21,000-point level yesterday, Mr Lun said. Index futures also closed below that key level, with the August contract finishing 507 points higher at 20,817. Meanwhile on the mainland, investors braced for a bundle of key monthly figures, including retail sales and industrial production. Inflation-related data scheduled for release yesterday is due out today. The Shanghai Composite Index fell for a fourth consecutive session, by 10.93 points or 0.34 per cent to 3,249.76. Banking stocks fell even though the China Banking Regulatory Commission played down speculation on Sunday that new loan growth had been misused and pumped into speculative market investments. In Shanghai, Bank of Communications fell 3.36 per cent and China Construction Bank Corp declined 1.96 per cent. In Hong Kong, they rose 3.98 and 4 per cent, respectively. Heavy buying interest lifted all boats, said Ben Kwong Man-bun, the chief operating officer at KGI Asia. 'If there is any negative news, the [Hong Kong] market will panic a little bit,' Mr Kwong said.