* HSI +0.9 pct, H-shares +0.9 pct, CSI300 -0.1 pct
* Central bank support lifts mainland, HK property stocks
* Tencent volatile ahead of earnings
By Natalie Thomas and Grace Li
BEIJING, May 14 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares hit a three-week high on Wednesday as investors snapped up property and banking stocks after China’s central bank urged mainland banks to speed up the granting of home loans.
The news also lifted China property stocks, though gains were not enough to bring the two main indexes in Shanghai into positive territory, as investors sold off beverage and energy heavyweights.
By midday, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.9 percent at 22549.44 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong also gained 0.9 percent.
The CSI300 index of the largest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.1 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.2 percent at 2047.36 points.
China’s central bank asked commercial banks on Monday to speed up the granting of home loans and to set mortgage rates at reasonable levels, four sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
The move was seen as underscoring concerns that the cooling property market may be posing a growing risk to the economy and banking system.
Chinese property developers led the gains in Hong Kong, with China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd jumping 4.4 percent and China Resources Land Ltd gaining 3.8 percent.
Chinese bank shares also outperformed, with Bank of China Ltd up 1.2 percent, and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd up 1.5 percent.
“Chinese properties and Chinese banks almost always go hand in hand. So if the property stocks are doing fine, then the banks will benefit,” said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities Vice President for equity sales in Hong Kong.
Bank of China shares were also boosted after the bank said it would issue 60 billion yuan’s worth ($9.63 billion) of preference shares to help replenish its tier one capital.
Tencent Holdings Ltd ended a choppy session up 0.8 percent after swinging between a 1.4 percent gain and a 1.7 percent loss within the first hour and a half of trade. Analysts attributed the movements to investor caution ahead of its first quarter earnings due later this afternoon.
On the mainland, Petrochina Co Ltd was the biggest drag on the Shanghai index, dropping 0.4 percent as the energy company gave back some of Tuesday’s gains on plans to invite more private investment into the firm.
Losses were also felt in the beverage sector, with Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd down 1.2 percent on fears of weaker earnings, while Jiangsu Yanghe Brewery Joint-stock Co Ltd shed 2.3 percent as investors locked in profits from a jump of more than 3 percent the previous day.
Real estate stocks made significant inroads for a third day, with property giants China Vanke Co Ltd and Poly Real Estate Group Co Ltd up 1.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Overall, the real estate subindex was up 0.9 percent. ($1 = 6.2291 Chinese Yuan) (Editing by Kim Coghill)