Hong Kong benchmark index produces best daily gain in 1-1/2 months

HONG KONG, June 26 Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:09am EDT

HONG KONG, June 26 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's benchmark index had its best day in 1-1/2 months on Thursday, with investors upbeat on hopes that hikes in U.S. interest rates will be delayed after a surprisingly poor reading on the economy for the first quarter.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 1.5 percent at 23,197.83 points, its biggest daily gain since May 12. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong also added 1.5 percent, bouncing back from a one-month low the previous session and having its best day since April 8.

Leading gains in Hong Kong were Macau gambling stocks, which extended a rebound after months of selling pressure triggered by regulatory curbs. Sands China climbed 4 percent and Galaxy Entertainment Group 3.7 percent.

Lenovo Group was the only decliner among Hang Seng components, down 1.0 percent after a media report said International Business Machines Corp's proposed $2.3 billion sale of its low-end server business to the Chinese PC maker is in limbo as the U.S. government investigates national security issues.

Local retailers Luk Fook Holdings International and Sa Sa International Holdings spiked 4.1 and 3.1 percent, respectively, on solid results. (Reporting by Grace Li; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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