February 9, 2017 / 5:18 AM / a year ago

China stocks hit 8-week high, led by construction materials; Hong Kong also up

* SSEC +0.4 pct, CSI300 +0.4 pct, HSI +0.4 pct

* Beijing official signals overcapacity cut in construction materials sectors

SHANGHAI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - China stocks hit eight-week highs on Thursday, getting a boost from glass and cement makers after the government signalled it would reduce overcapacity in the construction materials sector.

Hong Kong stocks hit four-month highs, with resources and industrial stocks among the best performers.

China’s CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite Index both gained 0.4 percent, to 3,395.95 points and 3,178.84, respectively. Cao Xuefeng, head of research at Huaxi Securities in Chengdu, said regulatory signals to cut overcapacity among construction materials makers had lifted related stocks. State media reported on Wednesday that Xu Lejiang, deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said China would step up supply-side reforms in the construction materials sector.

Industry bellwether Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd advanced 5.2 percent by midday.

Shares of glass producers Zhuzhou Kibing Group Co Ltd and CSG Holding Co Ltd gained nearly 2 percent.

Shares of many construction-related Chinese firms have performed strongly over the past year as higher government spending on infrastructure projects and a housing frenzy triggered a building boom. Many analysts, however, that such investments may be peaking.

An index of environmental protection firms rose 0.7 percent, after China’s securities regulator said it would encourage IPOs from more environmentally friendly companies, the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Wednesday.

Hong Kong shares were also buoyed by gains in materials shares, and as expectations of further yuan depreciation continued to drive mainland China investors into the city’s stocks.

The Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent to 23,575.91, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index hit a five-month high, rising 1.3 percent to 10,085.88.

“Some speculators entered the market today after the Hong Kong stock market had a solid performance yesterday, especially in blue chips,” said Steve Leung, director at UOB Kay Hian Holdings.

More than 14 percent of the daily southbound quota on the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect was used on Wednesday, compared with an average of nearly 11 percent in January.

Futures prices for steel “rebar” used in construction gained 1.9 percent by midday.

Reporting by Jackie Cai and John Ruwitch; Editing by Kim Coghill

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