* HSI +0.5 pct, H-shares +0.7 pct, China reopens Friday
* Macau casino shares rebound after recent sell-off
* CITIC 21CN drops 24.1 pct after Alibaba denies takeover talks
By Yimou Lee
Feb 6 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose from their lowest in almost seven months on Thursday, helped by strong gains in energy and Macau casino sectors, as investors covered short positions in some battered companies after a recent sell-off.
But analysts said the rebound could be short-lived as investors remain cautious and await direction from mainland China markets and a slew of Chinese data next week. China’s markets remain shut for the Lunar New Year and will resume trading on Friday.
By midday, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.5 percent at 21,378.4 points after closing on Wednesday at its lowest since July 10. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.7 percent.
They have now tumbled 8.3 and 11.8 percent so far this year, respectively.
“The market has dropped too much so there should be a rebound,” said Castor Pang, Core Pacific-Yamaichi’s head of research in Hong Kong.
“But that doesn’t mean the market has already bottomed out as the outflow of funds in emerging markets continue to hit Hong Kong investors’ confidence,” Pang said.
The Macau casino sector rebounded after weak monthly revenue data triggered a steep sell-off on Wednesday. Galaxy Entertainment rose 4 percent, while Sands China gained 7 percent and headed for its best day in more than three months.
Growth-sensitive counters were also strong, with China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd rising 5.8 percent after touching six-month lows on Tuesday and China Coal Energy Co Ltd gaining 3.9 percent.
Anhui Conch Cement rose 3.6 percent, while China National Building Material Co Ltd gained 3.4 percent.
Shares in CITIC 21CN Co. plunged 24.1 percent after Alibaba’s vice president on Wednesday denied talks that the e-commerce giant was planning a back-door listing through purchase of a controlling stake in Citic 21CN and said it had no immediate plan to inject an asset into the listed firm.