By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 15 (Reuters) - Hong Kong and China shares rose on Friday, led by banking and railway counters on restructuring of the mainland's vast rail operations, but were still set to end the week with the heaviest losses in three weeks.
At the midday break, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.76 percent at 22,790.14 but down 1.3 percent on the week. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong gained 0.85 percent, although it's now down 2.5 percent this week.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings gained 2.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.65 percent. They are now down 0.6 and 0.5 percent this week, respectively.
All four indexes are headed for their worst weekly losses in three, with onshore Chinese markets testing their lowest in two months this past week.
"I doubt there will be much downside from here, so if you are a bit light on your positions, this may be a good time to buy into beaten-down counters with a clearer growth or earnings potential," said Larry Jiang, chief investment strategist at Guotai Junan International Securities.
On Friday, China Railway Group shares rose 1.5 percent, while China Railway Construction gained 1.7 percent.
China's cabinet has approved the setting up of a railway company with a registered capital of 1.04 trillion yuan ($167.4 billion) following the government's decision to dissolve the scandal-plagued Railways Ministry.
On Friday, Chinese property developers sank after the country's housing minister was reported by the official China Securities Journal to have said that curbs on the housing market will be strictly enforced, resulting in a fall in home prices.
China Vanke gained 0.5 percent in Shenzhen.
Chinese property stocks have been volatile since the country's cabinet announced on March 1 more measures intended to curb speculative home demand amid rising prices.