Hong Kong main index hits highest since December on optimism, property gains

HONG KONG, July 2 Wed Jul 2, 2014 4:09am EDT

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HONG KONG, July 2 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's benchmark index climbed to its highest close in almost seven months on Wednesday, buoyed by upbeat China and U.S. data and an outperforming property sector.

The Hang Seng Index rose 1.6 percent at 23,549.62 points, the highest close since Dec. 10. Wednesday produced the biggest one-day gain in more than 7 weeks.

The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong gained 1.1 percent.

Wednesday's gains also pushed the Hang Seng back into positive territory for the year, up 1.0 percent.

Manufacturing activity in China and the U.S. expanded in June, data showed on Tuesday, when Hong Kong markets were closed for a public holiday.

High-yielding, defensive Hong Kong property developers were broadly higher aided by improved liquidity. The real estate sub-sector index was up 2.5 percent.

Henderson Land Development added 3.6 percent and Cheung Kong Holdings rose 3.5 percent to its highest since December 2007. (Reporting by Grace Li; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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