HK shares gain on railways, hopes for mainland investor access

SHANGHAI, April 3 Thu Apr 3, 2014 4:17am EDT

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SHANGHAI, April 3 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares edged up to a fresh three-week closing high on Thursday, buoyed by news the Chinese government would increase investment in railways and hopes that mainland investors may receive greater access to stocks on the Hong Kong exchange.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.2 percent at 22,565.08 points, its highest closing level since March 7. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong finished up 0.7 percent, after touching its highest intraday level since Feb. 20.

Rail-related companies rose after China's cabinet announced it would increase the total length of lines laid this year by 18 percent compared with 2013 and speed up projects that have already been approved.

China Railway Construction Corp gained 7.1 percent, China Railway Group Ltd rose 5.1 percent and China Communications Construction Co Ltd added 5.6 percent.

H-shares got a further boost form Chinese media reports on Wednesday that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEx) had reached an agreement with the Shanghai bourse to offer investors mutual access to each others' markets. HKEx confirmed that it and its mainland counterparts were in talks but said no agreement had yet been reached. (Reporting By Natalie Thomas; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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