* 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 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
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)