* HSI and H-share index -0.3 pct; CSI300 +0.3 pct
* HSI closes above 200-day MA, turnover still weak
* China property lifted after March home price data
* Kunlun Energy tests 200-day MA, now down 11 pct in 5 days
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, April 18 Hong Kong shares slipped to
a fifth-straight loss in lackluster Thursday trade, led by
weakness in commodities-related sectors and Apple Inc suppliers
that outweighed strength in Chinese property developers.
Mainland Chinese markets eked out slim gains after official
data showed March home prices rose. The CSI300 of the
leading Shanghai and Shenzhen listings gained 0.3 percent, while
the Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.2 percent.
The Hang Seng Index slipped 0.3 percent to 21,512.5,
barely closing above its 200-day moving average at 21,488.2. The
China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings also
lost 0.3 percent.
Other economic data on Thursday showed China's foreign
direct investment inflows reversed the longest streak of annual
declines in the first quarter, focused more on advanced
manufacturing industries and the service sectors.
The fifth straight loss for both Hong Kong indexes came in
the fifth-weakest turnover in the year, almost 13 percent below
its average in the past month. Shanghai volumes stayed under its
20-day moving average for a thirteenth-straight session.
"Macro is very difficult to call at this point, so I would
be more focused on specific sectors with visible drivers," said
Francis Cheung, head of Hong Kong-China research at CLSA, a
But the Chinese property sector is one of Cheung's favoured.
He attributes much of the increase in March home prices to a
rush to beat the curbs and anticipates a fall in April
transactions, which will make for an even better entry point for
the sector's stocks.
Average new home prices across China climbed 3.6 percent
last month, after a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percent in
February, according to Reuters calculations from data released
by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.
A lackluster first quarter GDP reading earlier this week had
eased jitters on the efficacy of home price curbs. Beijing first
announced fresh guidelines in early March but doubts are growing
about implementation by local governments, given that the
property sector is still a big growth driver.
On Thursday, China Overseas Land (COLI) rose 1.6
percent, paring gains after it posted at midday an increase of
15 percent in first quarter operating profit from a year
The Hong Kong Economic Times, citing an unnamed source on
Thursday, said that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told a meeting
last Friday that he prefers to hold off on expansion of the
property tax across the country.
Still, a vice-chairman of the China Banking Regulatory
Commission was quoted by mainland media as saying that credit
risk for the property sector is rising and that the sector will
be the focus of the regulator's risk monitoring this year.
More than half of property developers were still suffering
from negative cashflow in the first three quarters with an
increasing number of mortgage defaults since the third quarter
of last year, Wang Zhaoxing reportedly told Financial News.
Chinese automakers also buoyed gains on A-share indexes
after Changan Auto posted a 49 percent rise in 2012
profit. Changan climbed 2 percent in Shenzhen, while SAIC Motor
rose 1.1 percent in Shanghai.
APPLE SUPPLIERS, COMMODITIES WEAK
Apple Inc suppliers fell after the U.S. tech
giant's shares dropped below $400 for the first time since
December 2011. An Apple's chip supplier's disappointing revenue
forecast fanned fears about weakening demand for the iPhone and
iPad as competition intensifies.
In Hong Kong, AAC Tech slid 3.4 percent in its
worst daily loss in three months, while Sunny Optical
tumbled 3.8 percent to its lowest in three weeks.
Commodities stocks again fell after London copper declined
as much as 4 percent to below $7,000 a tonne for the first time
since October 2011, sending Shanghai copper limit down.
Jiangxi Copper fell 2.5 percent on the
day to deepen losses on the week to 9.5 percent in Hong Kong. In
Shanghai, it shed 1.7 percent on the day and is now down 7.5
percent this week.
Kunlun Energy sank 2.5 percent to HK$14.72, its
lowest closing level since Oct. 31 and its current 200-day
moving average. It has slumped 11 percent in the last five days
and a break below this technical level could point at further