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HK shares end firmer as investors await U.S. fiscal stimulus

* Hang Seng index ends up 0.82%

* China Enterprises index HSCE rises 0.8%

* HSI financial sector sub-index is flat

* Property sector down 0.4%

Dec 17 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares ended higher on Thursday as global investor sentiment got a boost from prospects of additional U.S. fiscal stimulus package, and after the Federal Reserve repeated a pledge to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 218.09 points or 0.82% at 26,678.38. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index ended 0.8% higher at 10,545.73. ** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 0.5%, while the IT sector jumped 2.07% and the financial sector ended 0.39% higher. ** Tech firms were supported late in the session by an announcement from China’s Ministry of Finance that it would issue preferential tax policies for the semiconductor and software industries. ** The Hang Seng Tech index closed 2.29% higher. ** Stocks traded in positive territory after the U.S. Fed promised to keep funneling cash into financial markets to fight the recession. ** Market focus has now turned to the prospect of a pre-Christmas fiscal package from the U.S. Congress. ** Congressional negotiators were haggling on Wednesday over details of a $900 billion COVID-19 aid bill that is expected to include $600-$700 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, as a Friday deadline looms. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed 1.13% firmer at 3,404.87 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended 1.28% higher. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.14%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 0.18% higher. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.5357 per U.S. dollar at 0817 GMT, 0.05% weaker than the previous close of 6.5323. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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