* HSI +0.4 pct, H-shares +1.2 pct, CSI300 -0.5 pct
* Chart resistance caps H-share gains, volumes still robust
* China Life Insurance leads non-banking financials’ gains
* Guangzhou property curbs hit Chinese property sector
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Nov 19 (Reuters) - China shares retreated from a month high early on Tuesday, limiting rises in Hong Kong markets, as benchmark indexes ran into chart resistance after recent strong gains from investors cheering Beijing’s ambitious reform plans.
The Chinese property sector was hit by fresh measures to manage soaring prices in Guangzhou after data on Monday showed average home prices in the southern city surged 20.5 percent in October from a year earlier.
At midday, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 percent to 23,747.2, just shy of the year’s intra-day high at 23,944.7 points. The China Enterprises of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 1.2 percent, stymied by chart resistance at March highs around 11,562 points.
The CSI300, which had closed on Monday at its highest since Oct. 22, was down 0.5 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.1 percent. If losses hold, this would be their first in four sessions.
“We are seeing a consolidation of the strong rally in the financial sector in the last few days,” said Zhang Qi, a Shanghai-based analyst with Haitong Securities.
“More gains are likely from here, but opinion is still very split whether this consititutes a re-rating of the China market,” Zhang added.
The Hang Seng A-H Index bounced off a January 2011 low, suggesting H-shares are now trading at its biggest premium over A-share in nearly two years.
While A-share investors took profit on some of the outperforming brokerages, mid-sized banks and baby product counters, the price action in the H-share market was more mixed.
Citic Securities climbed another 2.2 percent in Hong Kong, while slipping 0.4 percent in Shanghai. China Minsheng Bank rose 1.3 percent in Hong Kong, while sinking 1.7 percent in Shanghai.
In Hong Kong, Goodbaby International fell nearly 1.5 percent from a one-month high, while Yashili International dipped 1.7 percent from a record high and Chinese dairy giant Inner Mongolia Yili Group dived 3.1 percent from a three-week high in Shanghai.
Property developers were also weaker. China Resources Land dipped 2.2 percent in Hong Kong, while Vanke sank 1.2 percent in Shenzhen.
But Chinese insurers were broadly stronger as investors continued to cheer planned financial deregulation in the mainland. China Life Insurance jumped 5.2 percent to its highest since February in Hong Kong and 1.2 percent in Shanghai.
The official Securities Times, citing comments from a prepared speech that China’s top securities regulator will deliver at an event later on Tuesday, reported on its website proposed initial public offering reforms do not mean a relaxation of regulatory requirements, while the conditions are still “not mature” to revive plans for an international board.
Investors had rewarded Beijing on Monday for its ambitious reform plan, with onshore indexes posting its biggest daily gain in two months, while offshore Chinese shares in Hong Kong produced its largest percentage rise in nearly two year.
On the earnings front, GOME Electrical Appliance rose 1.4 percent after posting a 12.5 percent growth in third quarter sales from a year earlier. But Tingyi Holdings shares fell 2.2 percent as investors took profit after it delivered a better-than-expected quarterly net profit.
CLP Holdings rose 0.9 percent after agreeing to jointly purchase Exxon Mobil Corp’s Hong Kong power business for $3.4 billion with state-owned China Southern Grid.