* HSI -0.5 pct, H-shares -0.2 pct, China shut for holiday
* Turnover hurt by worrying U.S. fiscal standoff
* Hong Kong indexes could be flat for the week
* China telcos sink on pricing policy uncertainty
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Oct 4 Hong Kong shares slipped early
Friday as investors took profit on the outperforming Macau
casino sector and uncertainty about Chinese policy on pricing
hit telecom counters.
Turnover was relatively subdued with the U.S. government
still shut. Fears that the world's largest economy could default
on its debt are rising, with an Oct. 17 deadline lurking.
At midday, the Hang Seng Index was down 0.5 percent
at 23,100.4 points, and was also off 0.5 percent for the week.
The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings
in Hong Kong slipped 0.2 percent for the day and was flat for
Both indexes have corrected after rallying about 20 percent
from June lows to mid-September peaks. The Macau casino sector
led the rally and was again strong this week on
better-than-expected holiday visitor numbers from the mainland.
"There's some profit-taking on the Macau casinos today, but
with so much going on in U.S. at the moment, people will be
looking to playing the China game, which looks a safer bet for
now," said Alex Wong, Ample Finance's director of asset
Markets in mainland China reopen Oct. 8 after a week-long
National Day holiday. September money supply and loan growth,
due by Oct. 15, will kickstart a new batch of macroeconomic data
that could cement expectations for a modest stablization of
growth in the world's second-largest economy.
On Friday, Citic Pacific jumped 7.3 percent in
heavy volumes, which traders said reflected how long-only funds
were moving to increase stakes growth-sensitive counters.
Galaxy Entertainment tumbled 4.7 percent, while
Sands China sank 2.5 percent after both closed on
Thursday at record highs. Other Macau counters also suffered,
with SJM Holdings down 3.8 percent.
Shares of China Mobile, the country's largest
mobile operator, fell 2.4 percent to its lowest in a month after
local media reported the mainland's telecom regulator may reduce
interconnection fees, which would help its two smaller
While this could ensure fairer competition, the move is seen
hurting China Mobile's margins. Both China Unicom and China
Telecom said they have not received any notification of a policy
shift by regulators.
In a note to clients, Jefferies analysts said such a move
could lift profit for China Unicom by 27 percent and
for China Telecom by 29 percent, while causing a 5
percent decline for China Mobile.
Shares of Unicom and Telecom shed 1.1 and 2.2 percent
respectively. On Thursday, both surged about 8 percent as
investors chased afternoon gains after the reports of the
apparent fee change broke.