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HSBC'S $10bn acquisition of Republic of New York helped lift the market, but China stocks took a battering amid concern that the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade had set back trade talks with the US.

The Hang Seng closed up 165.8 points at 13,163 after falling to 12,769, with HSBC's 62 per cent-affiliate Hang Seng Bank leading gainers with a 3.5 per cent rise. The Red Chip index fell by 3.4 per cent. "It seems the [Belgrade] bombing is triggering people to sell," said an analyst.