* HSI +0.5 pct, H-shares +0.3 pct, CSI300 +0.2 pct
* Defensive undertones lurk in HK rebound, turnover weak
* China property sinks as tax pilot expansion affirmed
* Chinese insurers up on report about capital requirements
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Feb 6 Hong Kong shares regained some
of the ground lost in Tuesday's tumble to a one-month low,
thanks to strength in China Mobile and other defensive counters
that showed investors remain cautious.
Chinese property developers sank on Wednesday, limiting
A-share gains, after a plan Beijing announced late on Tuesday to
tackle inequality included an expansion of a property tax pilot
programme to more cities.
The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.5 percent on Wednesday
to 23,256.9 points, with technical resistance seen at 23,407,
the bottom end of a gap that opened up on the chart after
Tuesday's 2.3 percent fall - the biggest drop in three months.
The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese
listings in Hong Kong rose 0.3 percent. Turnover slipped below
its 20-day moving average for only the seventh time this year.
In the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai
and Shenzhen A-share listings gained 0.2 percent to its highest
close since September 2011.
The Shanghai Composite Index stretched its winning
streak into an eighth day, inching up 0.1 percent to its highest
since May 2012. Volume was the second-lowest this year.
"There's been some pressure to take profit on the rally,
people are concerned whether we ran up too quickly," said Peter
So, co-head of research for China Construction Bank
But So said buying interest remains quite healthy despite
signs that inflows into Hong Kong are slowing. In a Monday
report, So's team said last week's real-time liquidity
indicators confirm fund flows into Hong Kong have decelerated,
although there were no significant outflows.
He added that shares of listed state-owned enterprises may
see more muted performance in the second half, when more details
emerge on Beijing's plan to make wealthy state-owned firms pay
more to narrow a yawning gap between an urban elite and hundreds
of millions of rural poor.
Beijing reiterated its commitment to push market-oriented
interest rate reforms, which spurred an outperformance by the
non-banking financial sector and smaller Chinese banks.
Insurers were boosted by a Chinese news report saying
mainland regulators plan to raise the minimum registered capital
requirement for firms to improve performance of the insurance
Ping An Insurance climbed 4.2 percent
in Shanghai and 0.4 percent in Hong Kong. Citic Securities
rose 1.4 percent in Shanghai and 2.2
percent in Hong Kong.
Popular defensive plays, which lagged behind as more
growth-sensitive stocks powered the rally from lows last year,
were broadly higher. Hong Kong utilities provider Power Assets
gained 1.6 percent, while China Mobile rose
Asian insurance giant AIA Group rose 2.7 percent
on Wednesday. Before Wednesday, AIA's Hong Kong shares were down
0.7 percent in 2013 after rising nearly 25 percent in 2012. This
compares to the Hang Seng Index's 2.2 percent gain and 23
percent jump, respectively.
Most Hong Kong developers rebounded from a fall on Tuesday
rooted in comments by the territory's de facto central bank
chief, which sparked fears of more property market curbs. Wharf
Holdings was up 2.1 percent.
The Chinese property sector, roiled in the past few weeks on
conflicting signs on whether property taxes will be expanded in
the mainland, was a key source of weakness in both onshore and
China Vanke shed 1.4 percent in Shenzhen and
Poly Real Estate slid 2.1 percent in Shanghai while
China Overseas Land fell 2.8 percent in Hong Kong.
BAD DAY FOR CHINA LUXURY
Beijing's much-delayed release of its income distribution
plan (IDP) also weighed down luxury-related sectors with a big
exposure to China, such as Macau casinos, premium alcohol
producers and luxury watch retailers.
The Macau gambling sector was hit by a report in The Times
of London that Beijing is planning a crackdown after the Lunar
New Year holiday on triad-linked "junket" operators who bring
high-rollers from mainland China.
Shares of Wynn Macau and SJM Holdings
dove more than 6 percent, while Sands China posted its
biggest single-day drop since end-June 2012, sliding 5.2
Wuliangye fell 1 percent in Shenzhen after the
Xinhua state news agency said that Chinese radio and television
stations are to ban advertisements for expensive gifts such as
watches as part of a government push to crack down on
extravagance and waste.
Shares of luxury watch distributor Hengdeli
declined 2.2 percent in Hong Kong.
Despite several buyback programmes, shares of Hengdeli have
tumbled to a more than two-month low following a January Hong
Kong magazine report that questioned the company's operations.
Hengdeli said there had been no material change in its