China and Hong Kong stocks finished modestly higher in uneven trade on Thursday as investors pinned hopes on business-friendly policies following Alibaba's restructuring while awaiting manufacturing activity data due this week.
* China's blue-chip CSI 300 Index rose 0.81%, while the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.65%, snapping a four-day losing streak.
* Hang Seng Index gained 0.58%, while Hang Seng China Enterprises Index went up 0.64%.
* China's economic performance has improved in March from the first two months and the country will expand domestic demand and consolidate its economic recovery, Premier Li Qiang said on Thursday at an economic forum in Boao.
* Pro-business policy signals have certainly come through loud and clear — Beijing intensified its charm offensive as the new cabinet took office in March, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note.
* Alibaba Group said on Thursday it will look to monetise non-core assets and consider giving up control of some businesses.
* Group CEO Daniel Zhang said the company's breakup into separate businesses will allow its units to become more agile and eventually list on their own.
* "In short term, the restructuring will make valuation easier as each sub business units have difference growth aspects and embedded risks," said Mark Dong, co-founder of Minority Asset Management.
* Shares of Alibaba in Hong Kong extended gains from the previous session and closed 2.5% higher.
* Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities, said easing market concerns on banking crisis and Alibaba's news have helped Hong Kong stocks rebound recently.
* But both domestic and global investors are closely watching upcoming domestic data to assess whether the economic recovery has sustained, Yip said.
* China will announce the March official purchasing managers' index (PMI) on Friday.
* Hong Kong's Hang Seng Tech Index edged up 0.6%, while Hong Kong-listed mainland developers jumped 2.6%.
* In China A-shares, energy and tourism stocks surged 3.4% and 3.3%, respectively to lead the gains. On the other hand, telecom stocks dropped 2.8%. (Reporting by Summer Zhen; editing by Uttaresh Venkateshwaran and Angus MacSwan)