* HSI, H-shares both -0.3 pct; CSI300 -0.6 pct
* Citic Pacific hit by broker price target reductions
* Macau gambling up ahead of February revenue data
* Chinese insurers sink after China Life's profit warning
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 1 Hong Kong and China shares
trimmed this week's gains after official data on Chinese
manufacturing activity was slightly below expectation and at its
weakest since September.
Friday's losses came after stocks had their biggest daily
gains in weeks the previous day. Sun Hung Kai Properties
sank almost 2 percent after the world's second-largest
property developer by market cap gave weaker-than-anticipated
sales guidance despite trumping first half earnings
The Hang Seng Index and the China Enterprises Index
of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong each went into
the midday trading break down 0.3 percent. Both were still up
0.7 percent on the week.
In the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai
and Shenzhen A-share listings dropped 0.6 percent, while the
Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.5 percent. On the week,
they are up 2.4 and 1.7 percent, respectively.
Losses came in the strongest Shanghai midday volume in two
weeks as China's key money rate stormed to its highest level
this year on Friday, inflaming worries about policy tightening
as the central bank looks to restrain bank lending.
Hong Kong turnover at midday almost equalled Thursday's
week-high as China's official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)
eased to 50.1 after seasonal adjustments. The five-month low was
weaker than a 50.2 Reuters poll consensus and down from
January's 50.4 level.
"The China PMI today wasn't much of a deal, but coming after
Thursday's strong gains, it was a catalyst for some profit
taking," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president
for equity sales.
The Macau gambling sector was broadly stronger ahead of
February revenue data at midday, which came in at the top end of
analysts' forecasts for growth of between 9 and 11 percent.
Sands China rose 1 percent and Wynn Macau
gained 0.7 percent.
The ongoing corporate reporting season remained in focus,
with results showing the uneven recovery in China-exposed
Shares of Citic Pacific sank 3.7 percent in Hong
Kong, hit by target price reductions from brokerages including
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Citi and UBS. Targets were cut
after the steel-to-property conglomerate posted disappointing
full year 2012 results on Thursday.
Citic Pacific, whose stock has fallen each of the past three
years, is now down 0.7 percent in 2013. Citi analysts said the
company remains highly geared and will need to borrow more given
its current capital expenditure and annual dividend commitments.
Chinese insurers were broadly weaker after China Life
Insurance , the world's biggest insurer by
market value, said on Thursday full-year 2012 profit could be
down 40 percent from 2011.
China Life Insurance fell 2.7 percent in Shanghai and 0.2
percent in Hong Kong. Ping An Insurance shed 0.3
percent in Hong Kong and 1.9 percent in Shanghai.