* HSI +2.1 pct, H-shares +3.6 pct, CSI300 +3.2 pct
* Hong Kong midday turnover almost tops Monday's full-day total
* Railway, construction spikes on reported govt investment
* ZTE surges after H1 profit forecast, share options plan
By Clement Tan
July 23 Hong Kong and China shares led gains in Asia on Tuesday, lifted by local media reports seen as clarifying official tolerance for slowing growth, with mainland markets further buoyed by a reported delay in resuming new A-share listings.
Railway and construction material counters jumped as volumes spiked after the official Shanghai Securities News said Beijing may use investments in high-speed railways to help reduce overcapacity in sectors such as cement and steel.
At midday, the Hang Seng Index climbed 2.1 percent to 21,854.7 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong soared 3.6 percent to hit its highest since June 17.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings jumped 3.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.2 percent as volumes at midday were the highest in about two months.
Hong Kong's midday turnover was $4.5 billion, just shy of Monday's $5 billion full-day total, which was the weakest in 2013.
"Much of the gains in Hong Kong today seem to be on short covering," said Kelvin Wong, Julius Baer's Hong Kong and China equity analyst.
He added that a media report quoting Premier Li Keqiang as saying China wouldn't let growth sink below 7 percent, if accurate, "puts a floor on the limit of the economic slowdown". However, media reports also indicate there won't be a large-scale stimulus or a big shift in policy, Wong said.
A Shanghai Securities News report on Tuesday suggested new initial public listings in the mainland may be further delayed if applicants have to refile corporate financial filings, which have a six-month validity window.
China Railway Construction surged 6.1 percent in Hong Kong and 7.2 percent in Shanghai. Short selling in its H-share listing exceeded 10 percent of its turnover in the six sessions prior to Tuesday, peaking at 15.2 percent last Friday.
Shares of Zoomlion Heavy Industries , one of China's largest construction machinery makers, spiked 6.1 percent in Hong Kong and 4.3 percent in Shenzhen. Anhui Conch Cement , China's largest cement producer, rose 2 percent in Hong Kong and 3.2 percent in Shanghai.
The short squeeze also lifted the Chinese banking sector after Beijing News reported Li's comment on 7 percent annual growth.
Comments from Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli also helped. He reiterated the country's commitment to take decisive measures to support reasonable infrastructure and social welfare investment to develop the export sector, service industry and small firms.
In Hong Kong, China Construction Bank (CCB) and Bank of Communication (BoCom) each rose more than 4 percent, while smaller rivals Citic Bank jumped 5.4 percent and China Minsheng Bank 3 percent.
ZTE Corp shares surged 16 percent in Hong Kong as trading resumed a week after China's second-largest telecommunication equipment maker forecast a first-half profit and after it announced plans to issue share options to staff. Its Shenzhen listing jumped the maximum 10 percent limit.