Hong Kong shares end at 3-week high, Tencent jumps

SHANGHAI, April 1 Tue Apr 1, 2014 4:09am EDT

SHANGHAI, April 1 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares finished up 1.3 percent on Tuesday, as a surge in gambling stocks and a rally in Tencent drove the index to its highest close in more than three weeks.

The Hang Seng Index ended at 22,448.54 points, its highest close since March 7. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong gained 0.2 percent.

Gambling stocks ended the day up sharply as Macau monthly gambling revenue data released just over an hour before the close showed 13 percent growth in March, at the top end of analyst estimates of 10-13 percent.

Macau, a special administrative region, which pulls in more from gambling in two months than Las Vegas typically makes in a year, clocked up $4.4 billion in revenue in March.

Gambling stock gains were fuelled by funds buying into the sector, pushing companies such as Sands China Ltd up 9.1 percent and MGM China Holdings Ltd up 5.6 percent.

Tencent Holdings Ltd, China's biggest Internet company, gained 3.9 percent, clawing back some of the 7.8 percent it lost last week when investors sold off tech shares globally.

China Merchants Holdings (International) Co Ltd was the day's biggest loser on the Hang Seng, falling 4.1 percent after the company announced plans to sell HK$15.4 billion ($2 billion) worth of convertible securities to repay debt and fund the construction of ports and related business.

($1 = 7.7571 Hong Kong Dollars) (Reporting By Natalie Thomas; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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