HONG KONG Oct 24 Hong Kong shares may start
weaker on Thursday, ahead of a preliminary survey of factory
activity in China and the Chinese central bank's second of two
weekly open market operations for signs of a shift in its
Chinese short-term money-market rates rose sharply to
three-month highs on Wednesday after the People's Bank of China
failed to inject cash for a second day and regulators expressed
concern about loose liquidity and hinted they are considering
taking measures to address inflation risks.
Focus will also turn to the HSBC China flash purchasing
managers' index (PMI) due at 0145 GMT, which may offer fresh
clues on the state of the world's second-largest economy.
China Unicom, Great Wall Motor and Zijin
Mining are among companies due to report quarterly
earnings later in the day.
On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index closed down 1.4
percent at 23,000 points, its lowest close since Oct. 10. The
China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in
Hong Kong shed 1.8 percent in its biggest daily loss since Aug.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.5
percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.1 percent
at 0050 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Swire Pacific said its unit Hong Kong Aircraft
Engineering Co Ltd has agreed to buy a U.S. aircraft
technical service firm Timco Aviation Services Inc
for $388.8 million, in a deal to be settled in cash and
* Agricultural Bank of China Ltd is considering
a bid for Hong Kong-listed Wing Hang Bank Ltd, people
familiar with the matter told Reuters, as China's fourth-biggest
lender eyes its first acquisition outside its home market.
* Hutchison Whampoa's $1 billion bid for
Telefonica's Irish unit is likely to face a lengthy EU antitrust
investigation unless Hutchison offers concessions to allay
competition concerns, two people familiar with the matter said
* Top Chinese refiner Sinopec Corp's
return to large-volume diesel exports in the fourth quarter will
likely continue into the new year, as supply swells with
additional refining capacity while demand growth remains weak,
industry sources said.