China shares slip despite property gains, Hong Kong flat

Fri Jul 4, 2014 1:01am EDT

* HSI flat, H-shares +0.4 pct, CSI300 -0.2 pct

* China property sector rises again on loosening policy in some cities

* Hong Kong retailers suffer after data disappoints (Updates to midday)

By Grace Li

HONG KONG, July 4 (Reuters) - China shares slipped from two-week highs early Friday as investors took profit on recent outperformers, though a stronger property sector helped limited losses.

Hong Kong's benchmark index ended the morning session barely changed from its highest close since December. It pared early gains rooted in U.S. jobs data that showed the lowest unemployment rate in six years.

At midday, the Hang Seng Index was flat at 23,535.84 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.4 percent and might have its fourth straight daily gain.

The indexes were up 1.4 and 1.8 percent this week, respectively.

The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings edged down 0.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.3 percent at 2,056.45 points.

On the week, the mainland indexes were up 1.2 and 1.0 percent.

Gains in the previous four sessions helped the Shanghai index rebound from its 50-day moving average in improved volume, a positive technical sign that suggests further gains could be in store.

Friday's slip is "just a consolidation in the A-share market," said Ben Kwong, director at KGI Asia in Hong Kong.

He said that after chasing some hot stocks earlier this week, investors may "sit for a while to see whether the liquidity is still there" and buy laggards.

Shipping and port stocks, standout outperformers earlier this week, were badly hit on Friday. Dalian Port PDA and Rizhao Port both plunged 9.4 percent, while China Shipping Container Lines shed 3.4 percent.

On Thursday, the three firms surged by or close to the 10 percent limit on hopes of benefits if a free trade deal between China and South Korea comes out of President Xi Jinping's visit to Seoul.

The two countries said that they are aiming to conclude talks on such an agreement by the end of the year.

Hong Kong retailers suffered losses, after data late on Thursday showed retail sales in May fell a fourth consecutive monthly, with sales of jewellery, watches and luxury gifts down 24.5 percent from a year earlier.

Luk Fook Holdings International slid 2.3 percent, while Wharf Holdings, a developer and owner of shopping malls, lost 1.0 percent.

Leading gains on the Hang Seng was China Resources Land , which climbed 3.1 percent and was up 8.9 percent for the week.

Its mainland-listed peers were among top index boosts. Poly Real Estate Group rose 1.8 percent in Shanghai. China Vanke climbed 2.8 percent in Shenzhen and 2.9 percent in Hong Kong.

In a note dated on Thursday, Barclays attributed the sector's recent strong performance to an easier policy environment across most cities and better sales in June. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)