* HSI +0.2 pct, H-shares +0.4 pct, CSI300 +1 pct
* Chinese banks strong, retail investors drive gains
* China property weak, home prices up 4th mth in 5
* AIA slides at resumption of trade after AIG sells stake
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Dec 18 China shares advanced over the
morning on Tuesday, lifting the Hong Kong market, with the
financial sector strong as retail investors chased large cap
counters on hopes that the current rally runs through into the
In the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai
and Shenzhen listings jumped 1 percent, while the Shanghai
Composite Index gained 0.7 percent, putting both indexs
on course for a third straight day of gains.
The Hang Seng Index went into the midday trading
break up 0.2 percent, while the China Enterprises Index
of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 0.4 percent.
A 13 percent rally from a Dec 3 closing low has put CSI300
on track for a first annual gain in three years. The Shanghai
Composite has jumped 11 percent over the same time period, but
is still down 1.1 percent on the year.
"Banking stocks are regaining popularity with retail
investors, who are getting increasingly optimistic after the
rally we had in the last two days," said Cao Xuefeng, head of
research at Huaxi Securities in Chengdu.
China Merchants Bank was up 2.3 percent
in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, putting the share at its highest
since May. Its Shanghai listing had been down 16.5 percent on
the year on Dec. 3, but a 21 percent rally since then has pushed
it into positive territory on the year.
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, having
previously prevented them from investing in more than two banks
if they owned more than 5 percent of any single bank.
The rebounding A-share market also helped Chinese
brokerages. Citic Securities rose 1.8
percent in Shanghai and 3.3 percent in Hong Kong.
Alcoholic beverage maker Wuliangye Yibin Co Ltd
rose 0.7 percent in Shenzhen after China Securities Journal
reported the company said its senior management has purchased
83,301 company shares, worth about 2.2 million yuan ($352,800).
CHINA PROPERTY UNDERPERFORM AFTER PRICE DATA
Property plays underperformed after data showed home prices
in China's 70 major cities rose for the fourth month in the last
five, gaining 0.3 percent in November. The abiding strength of
home prices made it unlikely that Beijing would relax property
market curbs any time soon.
China Resources Land slid 1 percent in Hong Kong,
while China Vanke shed 1.3 percent in Shenzhen,
trimming its 2012 gains to 26.5 percent.
Vanke has lost 2.6 percent this week, and appeared set for
its worst two-day loss in almost two months after the official
Xinhua news agency said China's leaders decided at the annual
economic policy setting conference over the weekend to maintain
controls on the sector in the new year.
Asian insurance giant AIA Group declined 2.1
percent to HK$31 at the resumption of trade after American
International Group sold its remaining stake in AIA for
The deal was was priced near its top end at HK$30.30 per
share after it had been marketed at HK$29.65-HK$30.65 apiece.