China shares fall on weak banks, Hong Kong tepid

Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:51am EDT

* HSI -0.1 pct, H-shares +0.3 pct, CSI300 -0.2 pct

* Subscription period for four IPOs begins

* China property sector rebounds despite soft home price data

* Chow Tai Fook at over 2-month high on solid results (Updates to midday)

By Grace Li

HONG KONG, June 18 (Reuters) - China shares finished the morning session lower on Wednesday, as banks continued to pull back after recent strong gains, while Hong Kong stocks were flat in muted volumes.

In the mainland, the first four Chinese companies to push ahead with initial public offerings after a four-month lull have started to take subscriptions and aim to raise a combined 1.7 billion yuan ($273.8 million). Seven IPOs have been approved.

By midday, the Hang Seng Index ticked down 0.1 percent at 23,192.79 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.3 percent.

The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings edged down 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.5 percent at 2,056.35 points.

Midday volume in Hong Kong was the weakest this month, and some 20 percent below its average over the past 20 sessions.

"The Hong Kong market is kind of stuck at the current level, waiting for some breakthrough. Whether China can sustain its rebound is a key," said Jackson Wong, vice-president of Tanrich Securities.

He added that for fund managers, the World Cup is drawing some attention away from the market.

Data released on Wednesday showed China's average new home prices edged down for the first time in two years in May, underlining a downtrend taking hold in the market as the economy slows.

Despite downbeat figures, the property sector rebounded slightly with the CSI property sub index up 0.4 percent after falling for the previous two sessions. Poly Real Estate Group and China Vanke held on to slim midday gains of 0.4 and 0.5 percent.

"People are worried about a slump in housing prices. As long as it's not a slump, the impact won't be too big," said Liu Jingde from Cinda Securities in Beijing.

In Shanghai, the biggest index drags Agricultural Bank of China lost 2.0 percent and Bank of China shed 1.4 percent.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group climbed 3.5 percent to its highest since April 11 after posting solid results late on Tuesday. The company said on Wednesday it has agreed to buy U.S.-based diamond jeweller Hearts on Fire Co for $150 million in a move to extend its high-end product range.

CITIC Pacific Ltd rose 1.4 percent after it said late Tuesday that 10 new investors had agreed to buy its shares.

($1 = 6.2090 Chinese Yuan Renminbi) ($1 = 7.7515 Hong Kong Dollars) (Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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