* SSEC 0.2 pct, CSI300 0.4 pct, HSI 0.2 pct
* HK in a “slow” bull market, aided by Chinese money flows-analyst
* Valuation gap between China and HK shares smallest in over 2 yrs
SHANGHAI, March 21 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks followed Asian markets higher on Tuesday and looked set for their fourth straight daily gain, bolstered by continued inflows from Chinese investors and signs of global economic recovery.
Shares in China shares were also firm, aided by strength in consumer and healthcare stocks, though optimism was suppressed by signs of tighter liquidity in the banking system.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index added 0.2 percent to 24,558.82 points by the lunch break, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.6 percent to 10,650.44.
The Hang Seng has become the world’s best-performing major equity index this year, having gained nearly 12 percent.
That compares with a roughly 5 percent gain in China’s benchmark index, and a 6 percent advance in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Underlining Hong Kong equities’ strength relative to their mainland peers, an index tracking the valuation gap between the two markets fell to a two-year low of 113.63.
That means mainland shares command a valuation premium of just 13 percent, compared with about 40 percent a year ago.
“I think we can call it a bull market, although the pace of gains will likely be slow as the general mood is still cautious. It’s a slow bull,” said Alex Wong, Hong Kong-based director at Ample Finance Group.
He added that after breaking through a technical resistance level, Hang Seng’s upward momentum will likely be maintained by steady money flows from mainland China and perceptions that share valuations in Hong Kong are still relatively low.
Most sectors rose in Hong Kong, with an index tracking mainland property plays rebounding 1.8 percent following the previous day’s slump due to fresh property curbs in China.
In China, the blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.4 percent to 3,462.56, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,258.12.
Risk appetite has been weakened by signs of tighter liquidity.
China’s seven-day repo rate hit a nine-month high on Friday on a volume weighted average basis.
But consumer stocks were strong on Tuesday, with an index tracking the sector up 2.2 percent. The healthcare sector rose 1.8 percent.
Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Kim Coghill