Hong Kong's BEA kicks off earnings with 6 pct rise in H1 profit

HONG KONG Fri Aug 1, 2014 12:33am EDT

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HONG KONG Aug 1 (Reuters) - The first of Hong Kong's banks kicked off earnings on Friday with Bank of East Asia Ltd posting a slight rise in quarterly profit as investors focused on the sector's strengthening ties with China and the risks that could pose.

Bank of East Asia reported a 6 percent gain in first-half net profit, and said it expected its business operating environment to remain uncertain in the second half.

Net profit rose to HK$3.58 billion ($461.95 million) from HK$3.38 billion a year earlier, the bank said in a statement. (1 US dollar = 7.7498 Hong Kong dollar) (Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Ryan Woo)