Hong Kong shares outshine Asia, Rongsheng plunges on U.S. probe
* HSI climbs 1.5 pct, CSI300 up 0.3 pct
* HSBC edges higher ahead of H1 earnings later in the day
* HK hit by 17 profit warnings posted last Friday
* More stringent listing rules in China spook investors
By Clement Tan and Vikram Subhedar
HONG KONG, July 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares started the week higher on Monday, helped by a bounce in HSBC Holdings ahead of its earnings report later in the day and on expectation of more easing from the United States and the euro zone to support their ailing economies.
But in a stark reminder that any gains could be short-lived with earnings season picking up in the weeks ahead, 17 companies listed in the territory, most of them Chinese, posted profit warnings after markets closed on Friday.
China Rongsheng Heavy Industries plunged 17 percent after the U.S securities regulator accused a company controlled by Rongsheng chairman Zhang Zhirong, of insider trading ahead of CNOOC Ltd's bid for Canadian oil company Nexen.
Rongsheng also issued a profit warning on Monday, saying first-half earnings would fall sharply as a result of the shipbuilding downturn.
Mainland Chinese markets were mixed, with large caps outperforming at midday after the Shanghai Stock Exchange said on its website that it was proposing to speed up and simplify delisting rules with an aim to deter speculators.
The large cap-focused CSI300 Index rose 0.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.1 percent. The Shanghai B-share index fell 5.3 percent at midday to its lowest in more than two years.
The Hang Seng Index rose 1.5 percent to 19,568.9, outperforming Asian peers. Chart resistance is next seen at around 19,651.5, its 200-day moving average -- a technical level the benchmark has struggled to finish above since mid-May.
The profit warnings delivered on Friday weighed on sentiment.
"Obviously 17 is a lot of profit warnings for a single day, but I think it just goes to show you how much the Chinese economy has decelerated," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales.
Among those 17, Chinese realtor Guangzhou R&F Properties slumped 5.7 percent, while Fosun International lost 1.8 percent and shipbuilder China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd shed 3.7 percent.
HSBC CLIMBS AHEAD OF H1 EARNINGS
HSBC Holdings Plc rose 1.3 percent ahead of its earnings announcement later in the day, when Europe's largest bank is expected to unveil a half-year pretax profit of more than $12 billion, making it one of the most profitable lenders in the world.
But that is likely to be overshadowed by the threat that it faces a big U.S. fine for lax controls in its anti-money laundering systems and the risk it will be pulled deeper into an interest rate manipulation probe.
Before Monday, HSBC was trading at 8.1 times forward 12-months earnings, a 39 percent discount to its historic median, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
It is also trading at 0.9 times forward price to book value multiple, a 54 percent discount to its historic median, according to StarMine. HSBC is down more than 5 percent in July so far, but it is still up 10.3 percent on the year.
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