Hong Kong shares up on telecoms, gains offset by casino sell-off

BEIJING Thu May 8, 2014 4:08am EDT

BEIJING May 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose on Wednesday, though gains in heavyweight telecom stocks were offset by selling of casino counters after China initiated a probe into illegal payments in Macau.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 0.4 percent at 21,837.12 points. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong was up 0.8 percent.

Telecoms shares provided the strongest gains for both indexes on the back of plans for the three major mainland carriers to develop a joint venture to share infrastructure costs.

China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd and China Mobile Ltd were up 3.1 percent and 3.4 percent respectively. China Telecom Corp Ltd gained 5.3 percent.

Casino stocks slumped after China's state-backed UnionPay announced fresh measures to crack down on illegal payment channels in the world's largest gambling hub.

Shares in Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd fell 7.6 percent, while Sands China Ltd was down 4.6 percent. (Reporting by Natalie Thomas; Editing by Richard Borsuk)