October 30, 2012 / 8:30 AM / in 5 years

Hong Kong shares hit 2-week low as developers sink again, China up

* HSI -0.4 pct, H-shares -0.8 pct, CSI +0.2 pct

* HK property weak again, but most cut losses in afternoon

* ICBC, BoCom weak ahead of Q3 earnings after market close

* StanChart ends flat, pares losses after Q3 earnings

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares sank to their lowest in almost two weeks on Tuesday, with most local developers slipping further in the wake of fresh curbs on real estate purchases in the territory.

Investors also took profits on Chinese banks, recent outperformers after strong third-quarter earnings from three of China’s “Big Four” banks. The largest, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) , is due to post its results later on Tuesday.

The Hang Seng Index ended down 0.4 percent at 21,428.6 points, its third-straight loss, pushing the benchmark to its lowest close since Oct. 17.

It is now down 1.8 percent from last Thursday’s 2012 closing high, but still up 2.8 percent in October.

The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.8 percent. In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index and CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings each rose 0.2 percent, their first daily gain in about a week.

Shanghai volume remained below its 30-day moving average, but improved 13 percent from Monday partly after the Chinese central bank injected a single-day record amount of cash into the banking system in its regular open market operations, sending China’s short-term lending ratings tumbling.

Losses in Hong Kong came in the weakest bourse turnover since Sept. 15, partly because massive storm Sandy shut U.S. markets on Monday, dealers said.

“It’s mostly range-trading today, but Chinese companies that have posted good third-quarter earnings should get a lift if we get a positive China PMI on Thursday,” said Edward Huang, equity strategist at Haitong International Securities.

Beijing is due to post its official PMI on Nov 1 at 0100 GMT. The report is expected to show factory activity accelerated in October to its fastest pace in five months, strengthening hopes that growth is recovering in the world’s second-largest economy.

In Hong Kong, ICBC and Bank of Communications , China’s fifth-largest lender, slipped 1.8 and 1.2 percent respectively ahead of their third-quarter corporate earnings expected after markets close on Tuesday.

Losses on Tuesday trimmed their October gains to 9.8 and 7.4 percent respectively, but both are still trading at a 44 and 57 percent discount to its historical median 12-month forward price-to-book value, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

In the past 30 days, analysts have upgraded their earnings-per-share estimates for both banks by an average of about 3 to 4 percent, according to StarMine.

Shares of Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker BYD Co Ltd slumped 4.1 percent in Hong Kong and 1.2 percent in Shenzhen after it posted a 94 percent slide in third-quarter net profit due to a slumping domestic market and its money-losing solar energy business.

Asia-focused Standard Chartered closed flat, paring losses after reporting at midday that operating profit grew by a mid-single digit rate in the first nine months of the year, keeping it on track for a 10th straight year of record earnings.


On Tuesday, New World Developments led most Hong Kong developers lower, slipping a further 2.8 percent after sinking 6.4 percent on Monday. It is still up 87 percent on the year, compared to the 16 percent rise on the Hang Seng Index.

The Hong Kong government late on Friday imposed a 15 percent tax on foreign and corporate real estate buyers and stiffened the resale stamp duty fees in the hope of calming the city’s property prices, which have surpassed historical highs hit in 1997.

Henderson Land ended down 0.4 percent and Cheung Kong Holdings was 0.1 percent weaker, paring losses in afternoon trade in a sign that weakness in the sector could have bottomed out in the short term.

Sun Hung Kai Properties reversed early losses to recover 0.8 percent.

The Chinese property sector was strong after the second-largest player in the sector by market capitalization, Poly Real Estate posted a 95 percent rise in third-quarter earnings late on Monday.

Poly jumped 2.5 percent in Shanghai, while its larger rival China Vanke gained 1 percent in Shenzhen. In Hong Kong, China Overseas Land & Investment rose 1.6 percent, while China Resources Land firmed 1.9 percent.

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