HONG KONG, March 15 Hong Kong shares could start modestly higher on Friday, tracking Wall Street gains that would help pare losses on the week, now the worst in four weeks for both local benchmark indexes.
China Coal Energy, China Resources Land, Longfor Properties, Midland Holdings and Anton Oilfield are among companies due to post final 2012 earnings later in the day.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index ended up 0.3 percent at 22,619.2 points. The China Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.6 percent. They are now down 2 and 3.3 percent on the week, respectively.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was flat at 0035 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* China's cabinet has approved the setting up of a railway company with a registered capital of 1.04 trillion yuan ($167.4 billion) following the government's decision to dissolve the scandal-plagued Railways Ministry. New bonds issued to pay for the construction of railways would also be guaranteed by the government.
* A South African corruption watchdog is investigating a train contract awarded last year by state logistics group Transnet to a Chinese manufacturer for 95 electric locomotives, an anti-graft official said on Thursday. The deal was with Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive company, a subsidiary of CSR Corporation Ltd.
* China's securities watchdog will allow fund managers to invest their capital in a wider range of assets including bank deposits, equity funds, wealth products and trusts, its latest effort to encourage growth in a young financial industry.
* A number of small steel rolling mills in China's top producing province have halted production to avoid environmental inspections, industry sources said, a move that could weigh on iron ore prices should pollution control efforts intensify.
* Ping An , the world's No. 2 insurer by market value, on Thursday reported that 2012 net profit had risen by a lower-than-expected 3 percent rise against the previous year.
* China Mobile Ltd said it plans to spend 41.7 billion yuan ($6.7 billion) developing 4G technology this year, hoping to tap pent-up demand for Apple Inc smartphones as it gets an iPhone model that will finally run on its network.
* Shimao Property Holdings said 2012 net profit attributable to shareholders rose 15.4 percent from the year before.
* Hang Lung Properties said 2012 net profit attributable to shareholders jumped 72 percent from the year before.
* China Molybdenum said 2012 net profit attributable to shareholders declined 6.1 percent from the year before. The company has also decided not to invest in the Cemented Carbide Project and the Downstream Processing Project after capital raised in its A-share issue was smaller-than-expected.and
* Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd said China Securities Regulatory Commission had approval its plan to issue up to 1.45 billion new A shares. Ping An Securities Company Ltd is the sponsor of the A shares issue.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Eric Meijer)