* HSI -0.1 pct, H-shares -0.5 pct, CSI300 -0.1 pct
* CNOOC slides on possible lower China fuel prices
* Yingde Gas slumps on balance sheet concerns, broker
* HK closed Thursday, China shut for 4-day weekend
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, April 3 Hong Kong and China shares
slipped on Wednesday led by weakness in the Chinese energy
sector as a result of lower oil prices, in thin trade ahead of a
The Hang Seng Index fell 0.1 percent, while the China
Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese listings in
Hong Kong dropped 0.5 percent in the weakest bourse turnover
since Feb. 18.
The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen
listings slipped 0.1 percent to its lowest closing level since
mid-January. The Shanghai Composite Index inched down
0.1 percent at 2,225.3. They each shed 0.5 percent this week.
Losses on Wednesday came in Shanghai volume some 20 percent
below its average in the last month. Mainland China markets are
closed from Thursday and will resume trading on April 8, while
Hong Kong is only shut Thursday and will reopen on Friday.
"It's rather quiet today partly because of the holiday
tomorrow," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president
for equity sales. "We need a catalyst to break out of the
range-bound trade of the last two weeks."
That could come as soon as next week when China is due to
start releasing a slew of monthly and quarterly economic data.
March data for inflation data is due on April 9 and trade on
April 10 with money supply expected between April 10 and 15.
First quarter GDP growth data is due on April 15 along with
industrial output, retail sales and urban investment data for
March. Data on Wednesday showed growth in China's services
sector rose to multi-month highs in March.
From a peak on Feb. 6, the CSI300 has now tumbled 10.5
percent and the Shanghai Composite has slid 8.6 percent. The
Shanghai benchmark closed on Wednesday just above its 100-day
moving average at 2,221.8.
Both mainland Chinese indexes have traded above this
technical level since December. A close below this support level
could point to further near-term weakness.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Chinese oil giant CNOOC sank 0.9 percent, but
traded in a range that has bounded its stock price for more than
a week. Local media reported that fuel prices could fall next
week, following the adoption of a new petroleum pricing
framework announced last week.
Brent crude slipped toward $110 a barrel on Wednesday,
dropping for a second straight day, as swelling oil inventories
in the United States and recent weak data fueled worries about
demand from the world's top consumer.
Yingde Gases suffered its worst daily loss since
its 2009 listing debut, plunging 13.9 percent in heavy volume
after it announced plans for a $150 million notes offering from
its Yingde Gases Investment unit.
The stock was also hit by downgrades from CLSA, Morgan
Stanley and UBS, with CLSA citing balance sheet fears after the
company reported its net gearing surged to 95 percent in 2012
from 45 percent a year before.
The battered Chinese banking sector was an outperformer in
the A-share market. China Merchants Bank climbed 1.8
percent in Shanghai, helped by news reports that Chinese
regulators have approved its acquisition of a 50 percent stake
in insurer CIGNA-CMC.
Shares of China Minsheng Bank rose 0.5 percent
in Shanghai, but remained bounded in a range it has been trading
in the last week after it tumbled 8.8 percent on March 28 after
regulators announced a crackdown on financial risk.