* HSI +0.4 pct, H-shares +0.8 pct, CSI300 +1.3 pct
* Coal firms rise again after govt said studying policies to promote projects
* Property developers extend gains on further loosening
* Huadian Power sinks after Nomura downgrade (Updates to midday)
By Grace Li
HONG KONG, July 24 (Reuters) - China shares jumped on Thursday, outshining Asian peers and pulling up Hong Kong, as more investors plowed money in on hopes for a coming change expected to make it much easier for foreigners to buy Shanghai stocks.
Sentiment was further bolstered by a preliminary HSBC survey that showed China’s factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in 18 months in July as new orders surged.
At midday, the Hang Seng Index was 0.4 percent at 24,065.29 points. It briefly reached 24,108, only short of 4 points that would have taken it to a 39-month high.
The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong gained 0.8 percent to its highest this year.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings, which has risen the past four days, surged 1.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.8 percent at 2,095.85 points. Both stood at three-months high.
Liu Jingde from Cinda Securities in Beijing said it was “mainly because of the progress of the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect that we see gains across the board for blue-chips.”
Mainland markets have been rising since the China Business News in Shanghai reported on Monday that the Connect programme, which allows foreigners to invest in Shanghai’s A-share market and Chinese to invest in Hong Kong’s H-shares, had made progress in the design of operational rules and is expected to be launched in October.
The starting date in October has not been set.
Mainland investors believe largely undervalued blue-chips will keep drawing interest from overseas funds helped by the project, Liu said.
The leading index boost in Shanghai was Agricultural Bank of China, which climbed 1.7 percent. The other three “Big Four” state banks also rose around 1 percent.
Coal firms were stronger again after posting solid gains on Wednesday. China’s national energy bureau said late on Tuesday it was studying policies to promote coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas projects.
China Shenhua Energy , mainland’s biggest coal producer, added 2.4 percent in Shanghai and 0.5 percent in Hong Kong.
Property developers outperformed, with Poly Real Estate and China Vanke advancing 4 and 3 percent, respectively.
A report on the website of China Securities Journal on Thursday said 27 of the 46 cities with restrictions on house purchases had adjusted their policies by Wednesday.
Huadian Power International dived 6.6 percent after Nomura downgraded its shares to “neutral” from “buy”, citing “limited near-term catalysts ahead.”
China’s central bank refrained from conducting open market operations on Thursday, meaning it boosted liquidity. This is the first week since February in which there were no such operations.
Editing by Richard Borsuk