HONG KONG, April 28 Hong Kong shares could start a holiday-shortened week off a six-week high on Monday, tracking Wall Street losses after a disappointing U.S. first quarter gross domestic product report.
Hong Kong markets will be shut on May 1 for the Labour Day holiday, while mainland China markets are shut for the first three days of the week, resuming trade on May 2.
China's industrial profits grew 12.1 percent in the first quarter this year from a year ago, official data showed on Saturday. In March, profits were up 5.3 percent from a year ago, compared with the 17.2 percent increase for the first two months.
The results came as China's steel industry body warned its members on Saturday to rein in expectations for the remainder of the year, saying that an anticipated increase in demand would not be enough to justify big rises in production in coming months.
Officials with the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) told reporters at a briefing that the government was looking for new ways to restructure the sector, which was still facing massive problems.
On Friday, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 percent to 22,547.7, its highest close since March 14. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.6 percent. For the week, they rose 2.4 and 2.3 percent, respectively - their best since the week ending Jan. 6.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan is also shut for a holiday on Monday, while South Korea's KOSPI was flat at 0043 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Shanghai Fosun Pharma (Group) Ltd, a subsidiary of China's Fosun International Limited, said on Sunday it would spend up to $240 million to acquire up to 96.6 percent of Israel-based Alma Lasers Ltd, a manufacturer of lasers used in cosmetic surgery.
* Telecom Italia could float its valuable Italian fixed-line network on the stock market to keep it separate from any possible tie-up with Hutchison Whampoa, an Italian newspaper said in an unsourced report on Saturday.
* China's top offshore oil producer CNOOC Ltd's previously announced output and capital expenditure targets for 2013 did not include contribution from Nexen that it acquired in February, chief financial officer Zhong Hua told reporters on Friday.
* Weak deposit growth weighed on China's banks in the first quarter, forcing lenders including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd to pay more for savers' money and eating into their margins.
* Sany Heavy Industry Co Ltd, China's largest construction gear maker, posted a 43.9 percent drop in net profit in the first quarter. Sany's closest rival Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co Ltd reported 591.8 million yuan in net income in January-March, down 72 percent from a year ago, in line with its own estimate of a drop of between 60 and 80 percent. But Zoomlion was helped with 3.2 billion yuan worth of government subsidies.
* ZTE Corp , China's second largest telecoms gear maker in revenue terms, expects an increase in smartphone sales and an expansion in 4G networks to keep it in profit this year after posting its first-ever annual loss in 2012. After two quarters of losses, ZTE on Friday posted a 35.9 percent increase in its first-quarter 2013 net profit, lifted by gains from selling assets late last year.
* Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd reported a 8.3 percent rise in first-quarter net profit as warmer weather fuelled beer consumption and demand for premium products boosted margins.
* China Eastern Airlines reported a 149.7 percent plunge in first quarter net profit from a year earlier to record a quarterly net loss of 132.4 million yuan.
* China Railway Group reported a 61.6 percent increase in first quarter net profit from a year earlier.