China shares end up, buoy Hong Kong's best day in 2 months

Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:15am EST

* HSI, CSI300 +1.4 pct; H-shares +1.7 pct

* Gains came as turnover rose in afternoon trade

* Market talk of possible policy easing sparks A-share reversal

* Angang Steel jumps after sale of Tianjin Angang Tiantie stake

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Mainland Chinese shares finished higher, strongly reversing earlier losses on Wednesday, led by energy majors and some premium alcohol counters that buoyed Hong Kong's benchmark index to its best daily gain in more than two months.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 1.4 percent, its best daily showing since Sept 14. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong jumped 1.7 percent. Bourse turnover was at its highest in a week.

In the mainland, the CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed up 1.4 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1 percent after touching its lowest intra-day level since early 2009 in morning trade.

"There's some talk of some form of monetary policy easing. It would be a surprise and also kind of odd to be cutting rates at this time of the year since property prices are still rising," said Hong Hao, chief strategist at Bank of Communications International Securities.

But Hong said any rate cut would at best support a short-term rally in the mainland markets, with money supply-related issues weighing on the A-share market going into the year's end.

More share offerings are due to hit the market at a time when investor interest in stocks is already low as several lock-ups expire and the securities regulator starts to review a backlog of IPO applications.

On Wednesday, some premium alcohol, more commonly known as baijiu, counters such as Kweichow Moutai and the growth-sensitive energy sector led the reversal in the mainland markets as bourse volumes picked up in afternoon trade.

Oil giants PetroChina and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) each ended up 0.6 and 1.5 percent and were the top index boosts. Top coal producer China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd gained 1.5 percent.

Moutai was down 2.7 percent at midday, but ended up 1.3 percent on the day. The baijiu sector was earlier hit by local Chinese news report that the Henan provincial food authority was conducting more investigation into claims that Jiugui Liquor had added more plasticizers to their products than the industrial standard.

Jiugui's Shenzhen shares have been suspended since Monday, when the allegations first emerged, but other sector peers have suffered steep losses since. Wuliangye, which suffered its worst day in eight months on Monday, ended Wednesday down 0.7 percent.

In a sign of things to come, shares of baijiu distributor Silver Base Group Holdings slumped 11.3 percent after it warned in a filing with the Hong Kong Exchange late on Tuesday that it expects to record a loss for the six months ending September led by the economic slowdown and the low season in the baijiu market in China.

CHINA MOBILE LEADS HONG KONG HIGHER

In Hong Kong, gains were led by shares of China Mobile , the country's largest mobile operator and a popular defensive play. China Mobile jumped 2.3 percent and was the top boost to the Hang Seng Index.

Angang Steel soared 7.4 percent in Hong Kong and 3.3 percent in Shenzhen after saying it will sell its 45 percent stake in Tianjin Angang Tiantie Cold Rolled Sheets Co Ltd to the company's controlling stakeholder, Anshan Iron and Steel Group for 1.18 billion yuan ($189 million).

China Resources Enterprises shed 2.1 percent after posting at midday a smaller-than-expected 27 percent increase in third-quarter net profit.