Around the World's Markets: Hong Kong

THE HANG SENG index closed 23.03 lower at 9,402.39 after a half- day session ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Market sentiment reversed after last Friday's leap, which followed the decision by the Bank of Japan to cut interest rates.

The government decision late last Friday to resume land sales after a nine-month moratorium helped property stocks gain just over 0.5 per cent, led by Cheung Kong and Henderson Land. Bank shares were subdued by worries about rising bad debt levels.