* HSI -0.7 pct on Friday, -0.4 pct this week
* CSI300 -0.5 pct on Friday, +0.7 pct this week
* HK investors cut risk ahead of holiday week on "cliff"
* Anta Sports jump, helped by UBS price target upgrade
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Dec 21 Hong Kong shares posted their
worst day in three weeks and their first weekly loss in five on
Friday, as investors cut risk in the last full trading week for
the year after talks stalled over a deal to avert a fiscal
crisis in the United States.
Onshore Chinese markets slipped from four-month highs, with
heavyweight alcohol counters hit by more reports of product
contamination. Still, they outperformed offshore peers for a
third straight week.
The Hang Seng Index shed 0.7 percent in its worst
daily loss since Dec. 3 to knock the benchmark off a near
17-month high to 22,506.3. It slipped 0.4 percent this week,
with any gains next week seen capped by chart resistance at
around 22,800, the peaks seen in July and August 2011.
The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese
listings in Hong Kong shed 1.1 percent on Friday and 0.7 percent
this week. This was the first weekly loss in five weeks for both
Hong Kong indexes.
Hong Kong turnover stayed under its 20-session moving
average for only the third time since Dec. 4, which along with
strength in defensive counters such as Hong Kong utilities,
further pointed at risk aversion on the day.
On Friday, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai and
Shenzhen listings lost 0.5 percent, while the Shanghai Composite
Index shed 0.7 percent. On the week, they recorded their
third-straight weekly gain, rising 0.7 and 0.1 percent,
"It certainly looks like people are cutting risk (in Hong
Kong) before the holidays next week, but things are not that
bad," said Benjamin Chang, chief executive officer of LBN
Advisors, a firm that manages more than $400 million in two
Hong Kong financial markets will shut at noon on Monday and
only resume trading on Thursday for the Christmas holidays.
Mainland Chinese markets will stay open the entire week.
Global financial markets were roiled after Republican
lawmakers on Thursday delivered a stinging rebuke to their
leader, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, when they
failed to back an effort designed to extract concessions from
President Barack Obama in fiscal cliff talks.
In Hong Kong, Chinese banking and energy majors came under
pressure. China Coal Energy Co Ltd, the country's
second-largest coal producer and Industrial and Commercial Bank
of China (ICBC), the country's largest lender, each
fell 2 and 2.1 percent.
Friday's losses trimmed ICBC's gains on the year to 18.4
percent, compared to the 22 percent jump on the Hang Seng Index.
The share had bounced 40 percent from a July 13 low and on
Thursday it had stood at its highest level since early March.
Chinese alcohol counters were hit by fresh mainland media
reports of more products containing toxic plasticizer elements,
crimping a mild December rebound from the November rout suffered
when allegations first emerged.
Jiugui Liquor fell 3.8 percent, while the
sector's premium brand Kweichow Moutai fell 0.8
percent. Moutai is now just up 0.2 percent on the month after
diving 12.7 percent in November, its worst monthly loss in more
than two years.
BRIGHT SPOTS IN SEA OF RED
Bucking broader weakness, Anta Sports jumped 3
percent to HK$6.54 after UBS raised their price target from
HK$7.50 to HK$9, expecting Anta to be among the survivors of an
ongoing consolidation in Chinese sportswear brands.
China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) jumped
almost 17 percent in its listing debut in Hong Kong on Friday
after a $500 million initial public offering.
Chinese property counters listed in Hong Kong extended their
outperformance on the year, but those listed in the mainland
slid after a news report raised fears of more sector curbs
following data earlier this week that showed home prices rose in
November for the fourth month in five.
The state-run China Securities Journal reported on Friday
that the housing ministry is conducting an investigation into
property market trends, and industry insiders expect
policy-makers to launch more property tightening measures.
Poly Real Estate shed 1.5 percent in Shanghai,
trimming 2012 gains to 45 percent. China Vanke
declined 0.5 percent in Shenzhen, trimming 2012 gains to 26.3
percent. This compares to the 1.1 percent gain for the CSI300.