* HSI -0.7 pct, H-shares -0.9 pct, CSI300 +0.2 pct
* HK property slides after big banks hike mortgage rates
* Mortgage rate hikes unlikely aggressive: Credit Suisse
* China Mobile, Ping An Insurance slip pre-2012 earnings
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 14 Hong Kong shares were headed
for a third-straight daily loss on Thursday, led by local
property developers after two of the territory's leading lenders
raised mortgage rates for the first time since 2011.
Onshore Chinese markets stayed sluggish in tepid volume
ahead of the close of the country's annual parliamentary
meetings in Beijing at which saw Xi Jinping formally unveiled as
China's new president.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen
A-share listings went into the midday trading break up 0.2
percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was flat.
Both indexes have had five-day losing streaks taking them to
The Hang Seng Index was down 0.7 percent at 22,395.5,
its lowest since mid-December. The China Enterprises Index
of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong was down 0.9
"I don't think demand or home prices will be too adversely
affected by yesterday's mortgage hikes, but it's a trigger for a
stock market that is still looking for a bottom," said Jackson
Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales.
After markets closed on Wednesday, HSBC
and Standard Chartered announced a 25 basis point hike
in mortgage lending rates. Hang Seng Bank followed
suit on Thursday. This follows the Hong Kong Monetary
Authority's move last month to tighten home loan approvals.
Sun Hung Kai Properties sank 3.9 percent to its
lowest since November, while Henderson Land dived 4.2
percent to a six-month low and Cheung Kong Holdings
slid 2.7 percent.
While other lenders in the territory are expected to raise
mortgage rates, Credit Suisse analysts said banks may not be too
aggressive given shrinking mortgage volumes after the recent
"We believe the increase in the mortgage rate will have
limited impact on affordability," Credit Suisse's Cusson Leong
and Joyce Kwok wrote in a note dated March 14. They suggested
investors buy on weakness, with Sun Hung Kai Properties and
Henderson Land among their top picks.
Deutsche Bank forecast that with the government moves,
possible further rises in mortgage rates and expected increases
in housing supply, home prices in Hong Kong may fall between 15
and 20 percent in the next 24 months.
CHINA EARNINGS IN FOCUS
Investors are looking to gauge the impact on Chinese
companies following economic data pointing to a more subdued
economic recovery and the central bank governor's hawkish
comments signalling a pull back from loose monetary policy.
China Mobile and Ping An Insurance each
slipped 0.2 percent ahead of their respective full year 2012
At the midday break, China Mobile Ltd, valued at $220
billion of half an Apple Inc, posted a 2.7 percent rise
in 2012 net profit, the slowest in three years, as the world's
largest mobile operator by subscribers grappled with low-end
users and high handset subsidies.
Shares of China Mobile, down 8 percent on the year, are
currently trading at a 9 percent discount to the median 12-month
forward earnings multiple, according to Thomson Reuters
Ping An Insurance's Hong Kong shares are down 4.5 percent on
the year and are trading at a 40 percent discount to their
median forward 12-month earnings multiple, according to