(Updates to midday)
* HK closed, CSI300 -0.2 pct, Shanghai Comp -0.3 pct
* China urbanisation-related plays strong, local media feeds
* Vanke shares suspended, local media says company's
B-shares to relist in HK
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Dec 26 Mainland China shares slipped
from Tuesday's near six-month high as investors sold bank shares
after the sector's stellar gains earlier this month helped lift
the market's benchmark indexes out of negative territory on the
Index losses on Wednesday were limited by strength in the
property sector as investors found cheer in a media report
outlining Beijing's plan to further urbanise China, even though
home purchasing curbs will likely remain in place.
Hong Kong markets have been closed since midday on Monday
for the Christmas holiday and will resume trading on Thursday.
The CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen
listings went into the midday trading recess down 0.2 percent at
2,448.4. It is now up 14.2 percent in December, set for its best
monthly showing in more than two years.
The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.3 percent,
but stayed in positive territory on the year after a 2.5 percent
jump on Tuesday erased 2012 losses. It is now up 0.4 percent
this year, set for a first annual gain in three years.
"Investors are consolidating strong gains yesterday, but
sentiment has clearly changed for the better," said Zhong Hua, a
Shanghai-based equity strategist with Guotai Junan Securities.
"Not too long ago, property stocks would have suffered if
there were headlines like today, reiterating purchasing curbs
for next year. Instead, they are extending strong gains on hopes
of better demand from urbanization policies."
The official Shanghai Securities News on Wednesday cited an
official from the housing ministry as saying Beijing's policy
focus on urbanisation will likely lead to reforms in the
so-called hukou, or household registration, system to help
smaller, rural cities catch up with their biggest cousins in
Investors in property shares were unfazed by a report by the
official Xinhua news agency on Tuesday saying China will extend
its property tightening policies into 2013 to choke speculative
buying while expanding its trial property tax.
Poly Real Estate rose 0.7 percent in Shanghai.
Shares of China's second-largest property developer by sales are
now up 55.2 percent in 2012.
Trading in shares of China Vanke Co Ltd, the
country's biggest property developer by sales, was suspended in
Shenzhen on Wednesday pending an announcement, the firm said
late on Tuesday.
Local media reported that the company plans to convert its
Shenzhen-listed B shares, denominated in Hong Kong dollars, into
a Hong Kong listing.
In May, the official China Daily newspaper reported that
Vanke had bought a 73.9 percent stake in Hong Kong-listed Winsor
Properties Holdings in its first step in its
"long-term overseas expansion plans."
PROFIT-TAKING SINKS BANKS
On Wednesday, weakness in the banking sector outweighed
strength in the urbanisation-themed sectors.
Among the country's "Big Four" banks, Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) declined 1.2 percent
in Shanghai after closing at a six-month high on Tuesday. ICBC
is now set for a third-straight monthly gain that has helped cut
losses on the year to 3.5 percent.
Smaller rival Bank of Beijing dropped 2.5
percent after closing on Tuesday at its highest since May 2011.
It is still up 25.8 percent in December, set for its best
monthly showing in 3-1/2 years.
Much of the rally in the Chinese banking sector this month
has come after China's insurance regulator abolished limits for
insurance firms' investments in the country's banks. Previously,
firms were unable to invest in more than two banks if they owned
more than 5 percent of any single bank.
(Editing by Ryan Woo)