* HSI flat, H-shares -0.1 pct, CSI300 -0.5 pct
* Chinese insurers slide after Sichuan earthquake
* Steel, cement rise on reconstruction hopes
* Moutai again hit by fresh anti-corruption rhetoric
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, April 22 China shares fell from a
one-month high on Monday and Hong Kong markets were sluggish,
with Chinese insurers sliding on fears that payouts for
Saturday's earthquake in Sichuan could hit profit margins.
But reconstruction-related sectors such as steel producers
climbed on hopes that rebuilding in the aftermath of China's
worst earthquake in three years will boost demand.
At midday, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and
Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.5 percent, while the
Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.4 percent. Both had
closed on Friday at their highest since March 27.
The Hang Seng Index was flat, while the China
Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong
Kong slipped 0.1 percent. Bourse turnover stayed weak.
Rescuers struggled to reach a remote, rural corner of
southwestern China on Sunday as the toll of the dead and missing
from the quake climbed to 208 with almost 1,000 serious
"It's difficult to quantify exactly the impact of the
earthquake on companies right now, especially insurers with a
property and casualty focus," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich
Securities' vice-president for equity sales.
PICC Property and Casualty tumbled 3.2 percent in
Hong Kong. It is down 13 percent in 2013, compared to a 3
percent loss for the Hang Seng Index and a 7.5 percent slide on
the China Enterprises Index.
China Life was down 1.9 percent in Hong Kong and
2.7 percent in Shanghai, while Ping An shed 1.7
percent in Hong Kong and in Shanghai. CPIC skidded
2.5 percent in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, while PICC Group
lost 1.5 percent in Hong Kong.
China Taiping Insurance outperformed, jumping 3.2
percent in Hong Kong after the company announced its
restructuring plans have been approved by mainland regulators
and will involve a capital injection by its parent company.
Premium alcohol producer Kweichow Moutai fell 2.5
percent in Shanghai after the official Xinhua news agency
reported late on Friday that Communist Party cadres have been
ordered to be less wasteful, citing a meeting of the party's
central committee chaired by Xi Jinping.
STRENGTH IN PATCHES
Among steel producers, Angang Steel Co
rose 2 percent in Hong Kong.
Anhui Conch Cement rose 0.9 percent in
Hong Kong and 0.2 percent in Shanghai ahead of its first quarter
corporate earnings later in the day . The earning season for
Chinese companies will move into higher gear later this week and
in the next.
Up 3 percent in Hong Kong on the year, Anhui is currently
trading at a 15 percent discount to its historic median 12-month
forward earnings multiple, according to Thomson Reuters
China Unicom jumped 4.5 percent as investors
cheered its record high 3G subscriber net gain in March. Gains
so far on Monday lifted its Hong Kong listing to the highest
Great Wall Motor surged 13.9 percent in
Hong Kong and 4.6 percent in Shanghai with dealers citing robust
export guidance given at the Shanghai auto show.