China shares still brittle on property jitters, cap Hong Kong gains

Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:31pm EST

* HSI +0.5 pct, H-shares +0.6 pct, CSI300 -0.3 pct

* Industrial Bank partially halts funding ahead of more policy

* China property still weak, Vanke hits 5-year low

* Neusoft buoyed by agreement with Alibaba's cloud computing unit

* Macau casinos outperform on hopes of stellar February revenue

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, Feb 25 (Reuters) - China shares hovered at their lowest in more than two weeks early on Tuesday, limiting gains in Hong Kong, with property developers staying under pressure as fears lingered the government would impose more lending curbs on the sector.

Industrial Bank confirmed after markets shut on Monday that it had halted mezzanine financing for the real estate sector which accounts for a small portion of its overall lending business, pending new rules on its property-related loans to be unveiled by the end of March.

"Policy concerns are magnified now because the annual parlimentary meetings are next week and people are jittery about the kind of measures that could emerge from that," said Guo Yanling, a Shanghai-based analyst with the brokerage Shanghai Securities.

At midday, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.3 percent, near its lowest since Feb. 7 and nearly erasing a post-Lunar New Year holiday rally. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.1 percent.

Both had on Monday suffered their biggest one-day loss since Jan. 6 in robust volumes.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent to 22,489.5 points, with chart resistance seen at its 200-day moving average at about 22,493.6 points. The China Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese listings in Hong Kong, which ened on Monday at its lowest since Feb. 10, climbed 0.6 percent.

HSBC Holdings sank 2.4 percent after Europe's largest bank missed market expectations with a 9 percent increase in annual profit and warned of greater volatility in emerging markets this year.

Greentown China fell another 2.3 percent in Hong Kong after slumping more than 9 percent on Monday. China Vanke , which tumbled 6.6 percent on Monday, dropped another 1.1 percent to its lowest since January 2009.

Chinese banks mostly rebounded. Industrial Bank rose 0.8 percent in Shanghai, while Ping An Bank climbed 1.3 percent in Shenzhen.

There were gains, however, for Neusoft Corp, whose shares surged 10 percent in Shanghai after the official Shanghai Securities News reported on Tuesday it had signed an agreement to collaborate with Ali Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group.

Macau casinos outperformed on hopes February gaming revenue would top expectations. Nomura analysts said gaming revenue through Feb. 23 imply an increase of 33 to 35 percent for the entire month from a year earlier.

Galaxy Entertainment jumped 4 percent, while Sands China soared 4.6 percent. SJM Holdings, which is due to report 2013 full-year earnings on Wednesday, rose 2.3 percent.