Hong Kong shares up 0.3 pct, property sector gains most in over 2 years

SHANGHAI, April 2 Wed Apr 2, 2014 4:22am EDT

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SHANGHAI, April 2 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares finished up 0.3 percent on Wednesday, with property stocks posting their biggest one-day percentage gain in over two years after state media reported that some Chinese cities may relax house purchasing restrictions.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.3 percent at 22,523.94. But the China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong fell 0.8 percent.

Hong Kong's property subindex gained 3.7 percent, its largest daily rise since January 2012, after the Shanghai Securities Journal reported that local governments in Hangzhou and Changsha are considering a range of policies to promote the market, citing anonymous sources.

Hong Kong property got a further boost after local media reported on Tuesday that Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying would put on hold a scheme to restrict the purchase of certain new flats to Hong Kong residents.

China Resources Land Ltd rose 4.7 percent, Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd climbed 4.1 percent and Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd jumped 8.4 percent.

Property gains were offset by declines in mainland banking stocks, dragging the China Enterprises Index into negative territory as fund managers locked in recent gains from the sector.

Bank of China Ltd slid 2 percent, while Bank of Communications Co Ltd and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd dropped 1.6 and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Shares in Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd jumped 5.4 percent, their biggest one day percentage jump in over a year, after Chinese media reported that investors may be able to buy mainland listed stocks directly through the Hong Kong exchange. (Reporting By Natalie Thomas; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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