HONG KONG Dec 19 Hong Kong shares climbed to a
near 17-month high on Wednesday as investors welcomed signs that
the U.S. can avert its "fiscal cliff" and Chinese news reports
that Beijing planners want to give markets more freedom to
determine energy prices.
The Hang Seng Index ended up 0.6 percent at 22,623.4,
its highest close since Aug. 1, 2011. The China Enterprises
Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong gained
In the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai
and Shenzhen listings closed up 0.1 percent at 2,371.1, while
the Shanghai Composite Index ended flat.
* After the Hang Seng has rallied 22.7 percent on the year,
stiff chart resistance is next seen at about 22,800, peaks
reached in July-August 2011.
* The state-run China Securities Journal newspaper reported
that the National Development and Reform Commission, the
powerful economic planner, vowed to further push forward
resources price reforms, including for refined oil, natural gas
and coal. China Shenhua Energy jumped 3.2 percent,
while China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec)
climbed 1.7 percent.
* Bucking broader market strength, Esprit Holdings
tumbled 4.5 percent to its lowest since Nov. 14 after the
Europe-focused retailer warned of a possible loss for the six
months ending in December, triggering a raft of broker