HONG KONG Dec 19 Hong Kong shares climbed to a near 17-month high on Wednesday as investors welcomed signs that the U.S. can avert its "fiscal cliff" and Chinese news reports that Beijing planners want to give markets more freedom to determine energy prices.
The Hang Seng Index ended up 0.6 percent at 22,623.4, its highest close since Aug. 1, 2011. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong gained 0.8 percent.
In the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed up 0.1 percent at 2,371.1, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended flat.
* After the Hang Seng has rallied 22.7 percent on the year, stiff chart resistance is next seen at about 22,800, peaks reached in July-August 2011.
* The state-run China Securities Journal newspaper reported that the National Development and Reform Commission, the powerful economic planner, vowed to further push forward resources price reforms, including for refined oil, natural gas and coal. China Shenhua Energy jumped 3.2 percent, while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) climbed 1.7 percent.
* Bucking broader market strength, Esprit Holdings tumbled 4.5 percent to its lowest since Nov. 14 after the Europe-focused retailer warned of a possible loss for the six months ending in December, triggering a raft of broker downgrades.