Hong Kong shares end higher on energy, tech supports

* HSI +0.2%, HSCE +1.2%

* Tech and energy shares lead gains

* China to take necessary measures to safeguard rights of app firms banned by U.S.


SHANGHAI, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares extended gains on Wednesday after rising for six consecutive sessions, led by energy and tech shares, as investors expected the government to sustain supportive policies to counter persisting impact from COVID0-19. ** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 42.44 points, or 0.15%, at 27,692.30, its highest since last February. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 1.17% to 10,899.83, the highest since March 21, 2018. ** Leading the gains, the IT sector rose 2.24% while the sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares surged 3.2%.

** The financial sector ended 0.45% lower and the property sector dipped 0.71%.

** Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp and JD.Com Inc led gains among H-shares by rising 12.94% and 7.73%, respectively. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Meituan, which gained 4.52%. ** China said on Wednesday it would take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights of companies, after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order banning U.S. transactions with eight Chinese apps. ** China’s services sector activity expanded at a slower pace in December, a private sector survey showed on Wednesday, as sporadic coronavirus outbreaks tempered the recovery in consumer confidence and weighed on new business growth.

** China said it supports Hong Kong authorities in the fulfilment of their duties after Hong Kong police arrested 53 people in a swoop on pro-democracy activists. ** China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.63% at 3,550.88 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.92%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.41%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.38%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.456 per U.S. dollar at 08:11 GMT, 0.02% weaker than the previous close of 6.455. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)