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Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index hits all-time high

© AFP/File | Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 0.25 percent, or 78.66 points, to finish at 31,983.41 -- overtaking its previous high of October 30, 2007

HONG KONG (AFP) - 

Hong Kong stocks hit their highest ever level in late trade on Wednesday, a day after posting a record close.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.25 percent, or 78.66 points, to finish at 31,983.41 -- overtaking its previous high of October 30, 2007, before the global financial crisis kicked in -- as traders piled into the market in the final minutes.

In Shanghai, the benchmark composite index gained 0.24 percent, or 8.08 points, to 3,444.67 but the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, fell 0.30 percent, or 5.82 points, to 1,921.74.

The HSI surged by a third in 2017 and has continued its stellar run at the start of the new year, with a record 14-day winning streak only ending on Monday.

Analysts now expect the index to press on with its advance to as high as 34,000 by the end of the year.

The rally has come in line with a surge across global markets, which has seen Wall Street's three main indexes hit successive records, while Tokyo's Nikkei is sitting around 26-year highs, boosted by optimism in the global economy.

There is also increasing hopes for corporate profits after Donald Trump's huge tax cuts last month.

Hong Kong has also seen a flood of cash from mainland China as investors there take advantage of a cross-border stock connect programme to buy stocks that are relatively cheaper than in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

© 2018 AFP