Hong Kong shares may start week lower ahead of China Feb home price data

HONG KONG, March 18 Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:38pm EDT

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HONG KONG, March 18 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may start the week lower on Monday as investors brace for China's official February home price data later in the day that could worsen jitters over the exact implementation terms of home sales curbs announced March 1.

Later this week, investors will likely focus on a preliminary survey of manufacturing activity in March in China due on Thursday and corporate earnings as more Chinese companies post their final 2012 results.

China Overseas Land, China Resources Power and Tingyi Holdings are among companies due to post their final 2012 results later on Monday.

Investors will now also be awaiting specific policy details after China's annual parliamentary meetings ended over the weekend with the confirmation Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang as the country's new president and prime minister respectively.

The official China Securities Journal reported on its website on Sunday that Bank of China chairman, Xiao Gang, has been named head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, replacing Guo Shuqing.

Last Friday, the Hang Seng Index closed down 0.4 percent at 22,533.1, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.7 percent. On the week, they slipped 2.4 and 4 percent respectively.

Elsewhere in Asia on Monday, Japan's Nikkei was down 1.66 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.34 percent at 0024 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday ensuring economic growth was the top priority for his government, pledging to fight corruption, tackle vested interests and achieving an end to a cyber-hacking row with the United States.

* China's largest hypermarket chain, Sun Art Retail Group Ltd, posted a 50.6 percent jump in net profit to 2.4 billion yuan ($386.26 million) due to retail network expansion into lower tier Chinese cities. That was a little higher than the Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate of 2.298 billion yuan.

* Sunac China Holdings Ltd and Greentown China Holdings Ltd deepened ties through a $1.45 billion purchase of a Hong Kong holding company that owns land in central Shanghai.

* Bank of China Ltd Chairman Xiao Gang was named the country's top security regulator on Sunday, the China Securities Journal reported on its website.

* Chinese coal producer China Coal Energy Co Ltd said its 2012 net profit fell 4 percent to 9.3 billion yuan.

* The world's largest primary aluminium producer, UC RUSAL , decided to suspend operations at its Alscon smelter in Nigeria because of concerns about gas supplies.

* Property developer China Resources Land Ltd said its 2012 net profit rose 30 percent to HK$10.6 billion.

* Chinese auto maker BYD Co Ltd, which has Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. as an investor, denied a Friday news report that the company plans to sell new Hong Kong-traded shares.

* China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd said it was in talks to buy a juice concentrates and fruit purees production business but no terms have been agreed.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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