China stocks edge higher on strong energy sector, Hong Kong flat

Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:58am EDT

* HSI -0.1 pct, H-shares +0.1 pct, CSI300 +0.2 pct

* China oil firms rise as crude moves toward 9-mth highs

* Chongqing Brewery hits 5-month high after div announcement (Updates to midday)

By Grace Li

HONG KONG, June 16 (Reuters) - China shares eked out slim gains in a choppy morning session on Monday, lifted by strength in energy firms after President Xi Jinping's call for a drastic change in the sector as demand rises and supply is constrained.

Hong Kong shares remained tepid with investors awaiting direction from a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting this week.

By midday, the Hang Seng Index inched down 0.1 percent to 23,304.60 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong was up 0.1 percent.

The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings and the Shanghai Composite Index each rose 0.2 percent. The Shanghai benchmark stood at 2,074.53 points, its highest level since late April.

"This week we are waiting for more news regarding the U.S. economy, so the Federal Reserve meeting is going to show some indication of whether the U.S. market can go up further," said Steven Leung, sales director at brokerage UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.

"Also when the Hang Seng Index is above the 23,000 level, investors are getting more cautious, seeing quite limited upside unless we see more policies from China," Leung added.

The Federal Reserve will conclude a policy meeting on Wednesday, with markets watching for any signals on when the U.S. central bank might begin hiking interest rates.

China's two oil giants were the top index boosts, as crude extended gains and tested nine-month highs on fears the insurgency in Iraq could spread - disrupting oil exports.

PetroChina gained 1.0 percent in Hong Kong and 0.4 percent in Shanghai. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp added 1.0 percent in the onshore market, while its Hong Kong listing rose 0.7 percent, with the intraday level testing its highest since February 2008.

China's energy sector was also broadly pushed up by President Xi's remarks that the country needs a revolution in the way it produces and consumes energy, as demand continues to rise and supply challenges mount, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Friday.

Xi also called for the acceleration of China's nuclear reactor programme on the eastern coast, bringing a rally in related stocks. In Shenzhen, both Shenzhen Woer Heat-Shrinkable Material and Jiangsu Shentong Valve climbed more than 4 percent.

Chongqing Brewery surged 7.3 percent to a 5-month high after the company said it would pay a cash dividend of 2 yuan per 10 shares to shareholders of record on June 19 for 2013.

Breweries were generally stronger on hopes the World Cup will boost beer sales. Tsingtao Brewery gained 0.9 percent in Hong Kong.

Property giant China Vanke slid 2.6 percent, the biggest index drag, ahead of China's house price figures for May due on Wednesday. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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