HK stocks may open slightly lower on Libya unrest
HONG KONG, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks are expected to open slightly weaker on Wednesday, tracking a sharp drop on Wall Street on concerns turmoil in oil exporter Libya will keep oil prices at a high level.
"The index may go down by about 100 points before it gains support, but too much downside is unlikely after the latest adjustment and as regional stocks are also seen steadying," said Patrick Yiu, a director at CASH Asset Management.
The budget speech by the Hong Kong Financial Secretary later this morning, which is expected to address worries over inflation and accelerating property prices, will not likely surprise the market, brokers said.
On Tuesday, the benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI closed down 2.11 percent at 22,990.81 in its biggest one-day percentage decline in three months, with Alibaba.com 1688.HK falling as much as 10 percent after an internal probe prompted resignations of its top executives and forced the company to clean up a vendor mess that defrauded buyers. [ID:nTOE71L01Y]
Oil eased slightly after hitting their highest levels in almost 2-1/2-year highs following turmoil in Libya, but was soothed by expectations that OPEC and the International Energy Agency could meet any shortfall in oil supplies.
Across the region, stocks were also trading lower with Japan's Nikkei .N225 down 0.2 percent and South Korea's KOSPI .KS11 declining 0.16 percent.
STOCKS TO WATCH
* China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) (0883.HK) has signed a series of one-year bilateral bridge loans to back its $1.3 billion acquisition of a stake in US-based Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N), Basis Point reported on Tuesday. [ID:nTOE71L05T]
* China Mobile Ltd (0941.HK), the world's biggest mobile operator, and state-run Xinhua News Agency have jointly launched an Internet search engine, the companies said on Tuesday. [ID:nTOE71L050]
* A second major shareholder of top world aluminium producer RUSAL (0486.HK), Viktor Vekselberg, has said RUSAL should accept an offer to sell out of Arctic mining giant Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM), Interfax said on Tuesday. [ID:nLDE71L1HO]
* Sinopec Corp (0386.HK) is retooling an idled crude unit at its Tianjin refinery into a condensate splitter to process Iran's South Pars condensate, as the Chinese refiner lined up its first annual deal for the crude-like fuel. [nTOE71L03H]
* Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (0013.HK) said its shareholders would be entitled to apply for units in Hutchison Port Holdings Trust on the basis of 100 units for every board lot of 1,000 shares held. [ID:nTOE71L06E]
MARKET SUMMARY * Investors crowd Wall St exits on Libyan unrest [ID:nN2286580] * Bond prices rally, further gains seen [ID:nN22121545] * Risk aversion lifts Swiss franc, Kiwi pressured [ID:nL3E7DM2N7] * Oil holds gains after spike on Libya violence [ID:nN22284303] (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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