Hong Kong shares set for mild weekly gain on China optimism

HONG KONG, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares are set for a slightly higher open on Friday that will lift them into positive territory for the week as hopes of more steps from China to support its domestic stock markets lure investors back into the market.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 percent on Thursday while locally listed Chinese shares closed up 1.9 percent largely due to a rally in banking shares. Chinese banking shares were the Hang Seng's top performers with ICBC

up 4.3 percent.

Central Huijin, a unit of China's sovereign wealth fund, said earlier this week that it had bought Shanghai-listed shares of the "Big 4" banks and would continue to increase its stakes.

Weekly inflows into China equity funds have averaged more than US$200 million a week, the highest in Asia, according to data from fund tracker EPFR.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.1 percent while South Korea's Kospi was trading little changed as of 0020 GMT.


* Canada said it needs more time to complete its review of a $15.1 billion Chinese bid to take over oil and gas explorer Nexen Inc , a deal that has raised fears about opening the Canadian energy sector to the Asian power's state-owned companies. The government on Thursday extended its review of CNOOC Ltd's bid by 30 days, to Nov. 11.

* Brazil's Vale SA said it has begun producing copper concentrate at its Lubambe mine in Zambia.

* China's best-known local sportswear group, Li Ning Co Ltd , said its chief financial officer Chong Yik Kay has resigned, the latest reshuffle of senior management as the company comes under pressure from China's economic slowdown.

* Property firm Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd , owned by billionaire Li Ka-shing's family, plans to separately list its hotel business by way of an investment trust to free up capital for new investments, while realising the value of the hotels.

(Reporting by Vikram Subhedar and Donny Kwok; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

((vikram.subhedar@thomsonreuters.com)(+852 28436975))