* HSI flat, H-shares +0.3 pct
* CSI300, Shanghai Comp both -0.7 pct
* CLP Holdings down after equity offering
* Foreign investors remain optimistic on China
* HK share placements on the rise after recent rally
By Vikram Subhedar
HONG KONG, Dec 13 Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index
was flat on Thursday amid concern over the U.S. "fiscal
cliff" although locally listed Chinese shares continued to
outperform onshore peers, thanks largely to foreign investor
The Hang Seng stayed at 22,503.00, its highest level in 16
months, while the China Enterprises index rose 0.3 percent with
financials providing the biggest boost.
In China, the CSI300 and the Shanghai Composite
both eased 0.7 percent with energy and banking shares
hit by mild profit-taking.
Utilities were weak in Hong Kong. led by a 3.4 percent drop
for CLP Holdings after it $982 million in new shares
to fund expansion.
Power Assets fell 1.7 percent.
Corporates and shareholders have taken advantage of the
recent rally in Hong Kong to sell shares in the open market.
Shares of property firm Kaisa Holdings fell 5.8
percent after private equity firm Carlyle Group said it
was selling up to $67 million of its stake.
A combination of global central bank easing as well as
steadily improving economic data from China has spurred a
revival of interest among foreign investors that seen money flow
back into Hong Kong.
The territory's monetary authority intervened in the
currency market again on Wednesday to defend the Hong Kong
dollar's peg which has come under pressure because of the
"If there's some bad news about the fiscal cliff, then yes,
you will probably see a pull back," said David Gaud, a senior
portfolio manager at Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management in
But he added that China is looking increasingly attractive.
"The earnings momentum is probably strengthening and for the
first time in nearly two years in China we may start to get some
positive surprises," said Gaud.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pledged to keep
interest rates low till the unemployment rates drops to 6.5
percent and extended the central bank's asset purchase
programme, but reiterated that monetary policy won't be enough
to offset damage from the "fiscal cliff".
Large-cap bluechips in Hong Kong underpinned the Hang Seng
helping to offset the weakness in utilities.
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing was up 0.9 percent
while Hutchison Whampoa rose 0.6 percent.
Sands China extended a run by rising 1.2 percent
by the midday trading break.
On the mainland, energy firms slipped, with Petrochina
down 0.5 percent and refiner Sinopec
down 1 percent.