HK, China shares rebound, but wary of Beijing's 2014 growth target
* HSI +0.4 pct, H-shares +1 pct, CSI300 +0.2 pct
* Battered sectors this week lead rebound in weaker volumes
* A-shares headed for 1st weekly loss in a month
* Xinyi surges after positive profit alert
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Hong Kong and China shares rebounded by midday on Friday, trimming the first weekly loss for mainland markets in a month as investors awaited news of China's 2014 growth target from an economic planning conference.
Profit-taking this week weighed on companies that had outperformed since Beijing unveiled an ambitious reform agenda in mid-November. Money managers rolled back into 2013's top performers with just over two weeks left in the year.
By midday, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.4 percent at 23,318.1 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the top offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 1 percent. They are still headed for their worst weekly showing in at least a month, down 1.8 and 2.7 percent, respectively.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings inched up 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was flat. They are now each down 1.5 percent on the week.
Traders said the volumes in Friday's rebound was lighter than when markets fell earlier this week, suggesting investors are not rushing to buy on weakness. The sectors that were hardest hit this week are leading the rebound.
"Three factors this week contributed to the correction: renewed concerns of U.S. QE tapering, weaker China 2014 growth guidance and faster than expected China interest rate liberalisation," said Erwin Sanft, Standard Chartered Bank's China equity strategist.
The Economic Information Daily newspaper, controlled by the official Xinhua news agency had earlier this week reported that China's 2014 growth target may be set at 7 percent, short of the 7.5 percent target for 2013.
China's leaders are expected to set 2014 economic targets and reform priorities at the conclusion of the annual economic planning meeting that began on Tuesday.
"But China isn't an expensive market, markets are just digesting this weaker number. At this point, there hasn't been any real urgency to get back into the market because people are aware that reforms are a multi-year affair," he added.
At 9.3 times forward 12-month earnings, the MSCI China is trading at a chunky discount to its 10-year median, and at its widest gap to the MSCI Asia ex-Japan since the 2008 financial crisis.
The Chinese banking sector led a rebound from the day's lows on benchmark indexes. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) went into the midday break up 0.8 percent in Hong Kong, reversing earlier losses.
On Friday, five Chinese banks sold a total of 15 billion yuan ($2.47 billion) of negotiable certificates of deposits (NCDs) in the next step towards relaxing China's control over rates that would in turn hurt net interest margins for the banking sector.
Non-banking financials outperformed, as they have after Beijing's mid-November reform announcement on hopes they will benefit from financial reforms.
This aggressive push invited another commentary in the official China Securities Journal, suggesting the central bank needs to maintain "moderately loose" money supply to keep financing costs stable.
Citic Securities climbed 2.7 percent in Hong Kong and 1 percent in Shanghai after Goldman Sachs raised their target prices for both its A- and H-share listings by about 16 percent each.
Xinyi Solar surged 24.6 percent in Hong Kong after the company advised that it expects net profit for the year ending Dec. 31 to increase significantly from a year earlier.
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