September 21, 2016 / 4:56 AM / 2 years ago

Hong Kong stocks rise, China flat; markets look ahead to Fed,

* SSEC flat, CSI300 flat, HSI 0.3 pct

* Major China steelmakers jump on merger hopes

* Chinese money continues to flow into Hong Kong

SHANGHAI, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting, while persistent sluggishness in China’s equity market helped to extend the flow of mainland money into Hong Kong.

The Hang Seng index added 0.3 percent, to 23,603.86 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.6 percent, to 9,812.73.

China’s stock market was flat.

Investors remain focused on major central bank meetings. Earlier on Wednesday, the Bank of Japan decided to adopt a target for long-term interest rates in an overhaul of its massive stimulus programme.

Markets are also watching out for the U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision, due later in the global day. Both hawkish and dovish comments from Fed officials recently have stoked volatility in financial markets, although consensus is now centred on a U.S. rate hike by year-end.

However, the Hong Kong market has been relatively immune to global market volatility recently, thanks to strong Chinese money inflows, according to Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities Ltd.

“The Hong Kong market now has its own personality, thanks to southbound money from the mainland,” Yip said.

“There’s not much volatility in the China market so investors who have lost their sense of direction are looking elsewhere for investment opportunities.”

On Wednesday morning, Chinese investors spent 1.8 billion yuan buying Hong Kong stocks via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Connect scheme, sustaining the pace of inflows over the past month.

Shares of major Chinese steelmakers jumped, as investors bet on the next target of government-led restructuring after the disclosure of merger plans between Baoshan Iron and Steel and Wuhan Iron and Steel, whose shares remained suspended from trading.

Mainland-listed Angang Steel jumped nearly 9 percent, while shares of Maanshan Iron & Steel gained 2.9 percent in Shanghai, and 1.9 percent in Hong Kong.

China’s venture capital stocks, including Kunwu Jiuding Investment Holdings and Luxin Venture Capital also surged, after China published rules to promote healthy development of the industry.

Samuel Shen and John Rutwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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