Hong Kong shares may start higher on robust U.S. data

HONG KONG Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:08pm EDT

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HONG KONG Aug 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could extend gains into a second day on Friday as favourable U.S. data and increases on Wall Street gains lift sentiment, and as possible U.S.-led military action against Syria appeared less likely.

On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.8 percent to 21,704.78, and the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.9 percent. For the week, they are now down 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.4 percent and South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.2 percent at 0046 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* China's largest bulk shipper, China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd , posted a first-half net loss of 990 million yuan ($162 million) due to a global shipping downturn, though the loss narrowed from a year earlier.

* Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd , the company behind China's best-known beer brand, posted a 38.5 percent rise in first-half net profit, beating forecasts due to a better product mix and lower raw material costs.

* Industrial and Commercial Bank of China , the country's biggest lender, does not see bad loan growth accelerating in the second half, its chairman said.

* China's top four banks, ICBC, China Construction Bank , Agricultural Bank of China and Bank Of China , posted better-than-expected quarterly profits.

* Angang Steel Co Ltd , which makes and distributes steel and related products, returned to the black with a first-half net profit of 702 million yuan.

* The world's second-largest insurer by market capitalisation, Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd, reported stronger-than-expected profits despite a smaller contribution from its banking business.

* The world's top nickel and palladium miner, Norilsk Nickel , part owned by Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin and aluminium giant Rusal, recorded a 63 percent fall in first half net profit due to non-cash write-offs.

* CITIC Securities Co Ltd , China's largest brokerage, said net profit for the six months to June fell 6.2 percent as an IPO freeze and economic slowdown in China weigh on brokers.

* China's largest automaker, SAIC Motor Corp, posted a 6 percent rise in first-half net profit, boosted by strong sales at its joint ventures with General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG.

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