April 22, 2013 / 5:31 AM / in 5 years

China shares off 1-mth high, Hong Kong flat as quake impact weighed

* HSI flat, H-shares -0.1 pct, CSI300 -0.5 pct

* Chinese insurers slide after Sichuan earthquake

* Steel, cement rise on reconstruction hopes

* Moutai again hit by fresh anti-corruption rhetoric

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, April 22 (Reuters) - China shares fell from a one-month high on Monday and Hong Kong markets were sluggish, with Chinese insurers sliding on fears that payouts for Saturday’s earthquake in Sichuan could hit profit margins.

But reconstruction-related sectors such as steel producers climbed on hopes that rebuilding in the aftermath of China’s worst earthquake in three years will boost demand.

At midday, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.5 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.4 percent. Both had closed on Friday at their highest since March 27.

The Hang Seng Index was flat, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong slipped 0.1 percent. Bourse turnover stayed weak.

Rescuers struggled to reach a remote, rural corner of southwestern China on Sunday as the toll of the dead and missing from the quake climbed to 208 with almost 1,000 serious injuries.

“It’s difficult to quantify exactly the impact of the earthquake on companies right now, especially insurers with a property and casualty focus,” said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities’ vice-president for equity sales.

PICC Property and Casualty tumbled 3.2 percent in Hong Kong. It is down 13 percent in 2013, compared to a 3 percent loss for the Hang Seng Index and a 7.5 percent slide on the China Enterprises Index.

China Life was down 1.9 percent in Hong Kong and 2.7 percent in Shanghai, while Ping An shed 1.7 percent in Hong Kong and in Shanghai. CPIC skidded 2.5 percent in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, while PICC Group lost 1.5 percent in Hong Kong.

China Taiping Insurance outperformed, jumping 3.2 percent in Hong Kong after the company announced its restructuring plans have been approved by mainland regulators and will involve a capital injection by its parent company.

Premium alcohol producer Kweichow Moutai fell 2.5 percent in Shanghai after the official Xinhua news agency reported late on Friday that Communist Party cadres have been ordered to be less wasteful, citing a meeting of the party’s central committee chaired by Xi Jinping.


Among steel producers, Angang Steel Co rose 2 percent in Hong Kong.

Anhui Conch Cement rose 0.9 percent in Hong Kong and 0.2 percent in Shanghai ahead of its first quarter corporate earnings later in the day . The earning season for Chinese companies will move into higher gear later this week and in the next.

Up 3 percent in Hong Kong on the year, Anhui is currently trading at a 15 percent discount to its historic median 12-month forward earnings multiple, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

China Unicom jumped 4.5 percent as investors cheered its record high 3G subscriber net gain in March. Gains so far on Monday lifted its Hong Kong listing to the highest since end-March.

Great Wall Motor surged 13.9 percent in Hong Kong and 4.6 percent in Shanghai with dealers citing robust export guidance given at the Shanghai auto show.

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