Hong Kong shares may start higher ahead of China flash PMI

HONG KONG, March 21 Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:15pm EDT

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HONG KONG, March 21 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start higher on Thursday, ahead of an HSBC preliminary survey of Chinese manufacturing activity in March that could give clues on the recovery of the world's second-largest economy.

China Resources Enterprise, China Unicom , Foxconn International, Kunlun Energy , Li & Fung, Great Wall Motor and Petrochina are among the companies expected to post their final 2012 corporate earnings.

The Hang Seng Index closed up 1 percent at 22,256.4 on Wednesday. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong jumped 2.2 percent. For both, it was their first gain in four days.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.3 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.2 percent at 0100 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* China imposed long-debated stringent fuel economy standards on Wednesday, making life tougher for cash-strapped small domestic brands that are already struggling amid a slowdown of the world's biggest auto market.

* Tencent Holdings, China's largest online gaming and social networking company, will heavily invest in its popular Weixin mobile chatting application to attract more overseas users, the company said on Wednesday. Tencent posted a 36.5 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit from a year ago, meeting analysts' expectations.

* China Telecom Corp Ltd, the country's third-largest mobile phone carrier, has set capital expenditure for 2013 at 75 billion yuan ($12 billion), a 3.3 percent increase from the previous year.

* Quality, not quantity: that's the advice investors would like global supply chain manager Li & Fung Ltd to heed as it snaps up little-known brands to fuel growth in a business environment where more retailers source goods on their own.

* Vale SA , the world's No. 2 mining company, is set to resume shipments on a number of coal contracts from Mozambique after heavy rain forced it to halt shipments on Feb. 15, according to a securities filing on Wednesday.

* The London Metal Exchange, which was bought last year for $2.2 billion by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) , has appointed Deputy Chief Executive Diarmuid O'Hegarty as chief operating officer, it said in a notice to its members on Wednesday.

* Chinese gold miner Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd said on Wednesday it had agreed to set up an offshore investment fund with Canada-listed Sprott Inc with a target size of $500 million.

* Melco Crown Philippines Resorts Corp, the Philippine unit of Macau gaming company Melco Crown Entertainment, plans to raise $400 million through an offering of 1.2 billion shares, Thomson Reuters IFR reported on Wednesday.

* China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, parent of Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, said on Wednesday it will not make a final bid for a stake in Fisker Automotive Inc as it is not in line with its strategic considerations.

* Mass market ladies' footwear distributor Daphne International Holdings Ltd said its net profit for 2012 rose 2.4 percent to HK$955.7 million. It anticipates its same store sales for the first quarter of 2013 to be comparable to a year ago due to a high base effect, while expecting a pick-up in consumer demand in subsequent quarters when government stimulus for domestic consumption take effect later in the year.

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