Hong Kong, China shares slip; set for weekly losses

Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:20am EST

* HSI -0.4 pct, H-shares -1.3 pct, CSI300 -0.3 pct

* China Unicom leads telco peers down after official data

* Li Ning slumps after announcing fundraising plan

* Kweichow Moutai weak despite 50 pct rise in 2012 profit

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares are set for a third straight day of losses on Friday, deepening declines on the week as investors rotated into laggards while China's markets stayed weak after a strong start to the year.

The Shanghai Composite Index and CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings were each down 0.3 percent. They are now down 0.9 and 0.8 percent on the week.

The Hang Seng Index went into the midday trading break down 0.4 percent at 23,506.3, slipping further away from Tuesday's 20-month high and chart resistance seen at about 23,708, the peak on May 31, 2011.

The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong fell 1.3 percent to its lowest in more than a week, with only three components seeing gains on the day. This week, the Hong Kong indexes are down 0.4 and 1.4 percent, respectively.

"The rally from recent lows (in Hong Kong) has been largely driven by liquidity inflows. There is no deep conviction in this rebound," David Cui, Bank of America-Merril Lynch's China equity strategist said at a media briefing.

Cui added that with upcoming corporate earnings from Chinese companies expected to disappoint, further index gains will likely rely on a change in risk perception towards China.

Shares of China Unicom, the country's second-largest mobile operator, dived 3.5 percent to its lowest in a month after official Chinese media reported government data that could suggest an increasingly saturated market.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the number of mobile phone users hit 1.1 billion at the end of 2012. That also put shares of China Mobile and China Telecom under pressure.

They each fell 1.5 and 2.6 percent, respectively, adding to losses on Thursday after JP Morgan downgraded its price target for China Mobile and Apple Inc's disappointing earnings hit Unicom, the country's major iPhone carrier.

Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning tumbled 13.9 percent in what could be its worst single day loss in 18 months after the company said it would issue up to $241 million in convertible securities to fund its restructuring.

Before Friday, Li Ning had risen almost 69 percent from a Sept. 5 low, far outpacing the 23 percent jump on the Hang Seng Index, despite lingering inventory issues.

In Shanghai, Kweichow Moutai fell another 2.8 percent despite advising late on Thursday that its 2012 profit rose about 50 percent due to rising sales volume and prices.

Shares of the producer of premium white spirits, which Chinese people often offer as gifts, has been hard hit by escalating anti-corruption calls from Chinese leaders and a contamination scare that has worsened overproduction issues.

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