China shares fall for a 5th day, Hong Kong weak too
* HSI -0.8 pct, H-shares 1.4 pct, CSI300 -1.3 pct
* Property sinks on reported Shenzhen home-price freeze
* Losses erase CSI300's gain for the year
* Ajisen surges after 2012 earnings beat expectations
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 13 (Reuters) - China shares headed for a fifth-straight loss on Wednesday, hurting Hong Kong markets, with the mainland financial and property sectors hit by a media report saying Shenzhen imposed a freeze on housing prices for the year.
The article on the Sina online news portal extended a jittery spell for Chinese property stocks that began when the country's cabinet announced on March 1 more measures intended to curb speculative home demand amid rising prices.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen listings went into the midday break down 1.3 percent, erasing this year's gains. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 1.2 percent, making it down 0.4 percent in 2013.
The Hang Seng Index was down 0.8 percent on the day and up 0.3 percent on the year after lingering in a 500-point range for three weeks. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong slid 1.4 percent and is now down 2.6 percent this year.
"Policy on the Chinese property sector will probably take a quarter or so to pan out fully. Nobody is increasing their exposure to that sector even though some stocks are starting to look attractive after recent losses," said Wang Ao-chao, UOB-Kay Hian's Shanghai-based head of research.
China Vanke sank 2.3 percent in Shenzhen while Poly Real Estate slid 2.9 percent in Shanghai. China Resources Land tumbled 3.3 percent in Hong Kong, making it down 2.8 percent on the year.
Chinese financials were also hurt by a report in the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper that the Chinese banking regulator said financial institutions should be cautious about buying bonds issued by local government financing vehicles (LGFV).
The report cited draft guidelines from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) that also directed banks to centralise approval of all LGFV bond transactions in their head offices.
Haitong Securities shed 3.3 percent in Shanghai and 2.1 percent in Hong Kong. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China lost 0.9 percent in Hong Kong and 0.7 percent in Shanghai.
Wednesday's media report indicated an extension of the banking regulator's crackdown on financial risk. On Tuesday, the official China Securities Journal reported that CBRC is tightening regulation on asset-pooled wealth management products.
EARNINGS IN FOCUS
Cathay Pacific Airways slipped 0.7 percent ahead of its 2012 full-year earnings. At the midday break, the world's largest international air cargo operator reported an 83 percent plunge in 2012 profit.
Shares of Cathay, down 0.4 percent on the year, are trading at a 48 percent premium to its historical median forward 12-month earnings multiple, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Shares of Ajisen (China) Holdings, which operates Japanese ramen restaurants in Hong Kong and China, surged 12.7 percent after reporting late on Tuesday a smaller-than-expected decline in 2012 full-year headline earnings.
Ajisen also raised its dividend payout ratio. Barclays analysts said Ajisen's earnings topped forecasts mainly due to better-than-expected gross margins and to store closures.
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