Hong Kong shares seen lower, China inflation data eyed

Wed Feb 8, 2012 7:50pm EST

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HONG KONG, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could
start lower on Thursday, as benchmark indices retreat from chart
resistance levels ahead of the release of China's January
inflation data.    	
    Beijing is expected to post January inflation data shortly
after markets open on Thursday, with consumer price inflation
possibly holding at 4.1 percent, unchanged from December, a
Reuters poll of 23 economists showed. 	
    Lenovo Group Ltd, the world's No.2 PC maker,
posted a 54 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, beating
expectations, though growth slowed for a third straight quarter
on weak global PC demand and a shortage of components.
 	
    Melco Crown Entertainment is also scheduled to
post fourth-quarter and 2011 full-year earnings on Thursday.	
    On Wednesday, a series of Beijing policy moves drove the
Hang Seng Index up 1.5 percent to 21,018.5, a tad above
the bottom of a 708-point gap that opened between Aug. 4 and 5
at 21,017.2. 	
    The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese
listings in Hong Kong gained 1.8 percent, with property
developers, oil producers and other resources-related stocks,
seen more growth-sensitive, leading gains. 	
    On the Hang Seng Index, support is seen at about 20,564,
which limited losses in the four sessions prior to Wednesday.	
    Short selling accounted for 7.9 percent of total turnover on
Wednesday, which jumped to its highest since Jan. 19. Shorting
interest in some Chinese developers stayed elevated despite
strong gains, suggesting some investors remained ambivalent.	
    Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei was down
0.4 percent at 8,981.3 points, while the Korea Composite Stock
Price Index (KOSPI) was down 0.6 percent at 1,991 points
at 0035 GMT. 	
	
    FACTORS TO WATCH:	
    * SMIC said Q4 revenue was down by 5.6 percent to
$289.6 million from $306.9 million in Q3 2011, and was down by
29.1 percent compared with Q4 2010. It said Q1 2012 revenue was
expected to increase between 7 percent to 9 percent.
 	
    * SOHO China, a real estate developer that
concentrates on projects in Beijing and Shanghai, said on
Wednesday it had set its sales target for 2012 at 23 billion
yuan ($3.65 billion). 	
    * France's AXA and U.S. insurer ACE are
the final two suitors in the hunt to buy HSBC's 
 $1 billion general insurance business, people familiar
with the matter said. 	
    * Kaisa Group, a mainland developer, said in a
filing with the HKEx that it had named Jin Zhigang as CEO, with
Chen Gengxian stepping down as co-chief operating officer to
become vice chairman, and Huang Chuanqi resigning as president
to become a "senior consultant" to the company. Huang has
resigned "to devote more time to his personal endeavours." For
statement click here	
    * Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Ltd said it
expected to record an increase in net profit for six months
ended in December 2011, thanks to a significant increase in
revenue generated from marine bunker supply and sales of
petroleum products. For statement click here	
    * Huaneng Power International Inc said the
National Development and Reform Commission has approved its 60
percent-owned Shantou Port Haimen Terminal Zone Huaneng Coal
Transit Base Project, which involves constructing berths with a
planned annual throughput capacity of 22.7 million tons with
total investment amounting to 2.442 billion yuan. For statement
click here	
    	
    MARKET SUMMARY:	
> Wall St ends flat; Cisco gains after the bell             	
> Euro edges lower as Greek talks transfix                	
> Bonds slightly lower in late trade                       	
> Gold down nearly 1 pct on technicals, euro jitters      	
> Brent ends at 6-month high on Greek hopes                	
	
 (Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by XXX)
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