Hong Kong shares may return from holiday with higher start

HONG KONG, April 5 Thu Apr 4, 2013 8:53pm EDT

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HONG KONG, April 5 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start higher on Friday as markets reopen following a public holiday, bolstered by the Bank of Japan's unprecedented monetary expansion.

Mainland China financial markets stay shut on Friday.

On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index closed down 0.1 percent at 22,337.5, its second loss in three days. The China Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.5 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 3.6 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.8 percent at 0044 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* The mystery lender behind a Thai billionaire's $9.4 billion purchase of a stake in Ping An Insurance was UBS, which offered a last-minute and complex financing package known to only a few involved, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

* China Mobile, Vodafone and a group backed by George Soros entered the race to secure a mobile licence in Myanmar, as the battle to operate in one of the last major untapped markets kicked off.

* Shares in Telecom Italia surged after reports the debt-laden Italian telecoms company could discuss merging with Hutchison Whampoa's Italian wireless unit H3G at next week's board meeting.

* Boeing Co said on Thursday it delivered 137 commercial aircraft in the first quarter, and won net orders for 209 planes in the same period, after cancellations are factored in. Boeing's weekly order update showed gross orders for 220 planes, including eight 777 jets valued at about $300 million apiece at list prices, and three 747s valued at about $350 million each, for Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.

* Shimao Property Holdings Ltd said its contracted sales value for March amounted to 6.35 billion yuan, up from 4.32 billion yuan the same period a year ago.

* Next Media Ltd said Fair Trade Commission of Taiwan has ceased its review regarding sale of the group's print business in Taiwan, but it is in negotiation with independent third parties in relation to a possible sale of its TV business.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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