* HSI -0.5 pct, H-shares -0.2 pct, CSI300 -0.8 pct
* China property H-shares rise, A-shares slip after home price data
* Tianjin-based counters jump on free trade zone hopes
* Key earnings expected: COLI, ZTE, Huaneng Power, SMIC
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares were knocked off their highest levels in a month early on Tuesday, led by China Mobile after its disappointing third quarterly results kicked off the current results reporting season for key blue chip companies.
Mainland Chinese markets were put on the defensive after official data showed average new home prices in China’s major cities in September accelerated to 19.1 percent from a year earlier, from August’s 14.9 percent.
By midday, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.8 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.7 percent. Both have traded in the same narrow 100-point range for nearly a month.
The Hang Seng Index, which closed on Monday at its highest since Sept. 19, fell 0.5 percent to 23,324.5 points. The China Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese listings slipped 0.2 percent.
Volumes up to midday in both markets were lackluster.
Offshore investors awaited delayed U.S. jobs data due later in the global day and onshore markets were spooked by the possibility of a second-straight net liquidity drain after the Chinese central bank abstained from open market operations for a second consecutive session.
“Forward guidance provided by companies will be important at this earnings in this uncertain period,” said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities’ vice-president for equity sales.
“It’s a waiting game now. Chinese property data wasn’t unexpected, but people are now looking towards the 3rd Plenum meeting in November for signs of how Beijing plans to address rising home prices and bad debt issues,” Wong added.
China’s leaders will lay out plans to transform the world’s second-largest economy at the meeting, billed as a watershed just like one in 1978 when Deng Xiaoping unveiled his historic reforms to open China to the rest of the world.
Most Chinese property developers in Hong Kong rose marginally, while mainland-listed ones were weaker. While year-on-year home price growth accelerated in September from August, month-on-month increments saw a decline.
Country Garden climbed 1.1 percent in Hong Kong, while Vanke shed 0.9 percent in Shenzhen and Poly Real Estate slipped 0.6 percent in Shanghai.
China Overseas Land (COLI) sank 0.8 percent in Hong Kong ahead of its quarterly results due at the midday trading break. COLI posted a 3 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit, helped by strategic pricing in higher tier cities to counter tightening measures.
Up 4.1 percent this year, COLI is trading at 9 times forward 12-month earnings, a 33 percent discount to its historical median, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Other key earnings due on Tuesday include ones for Huaneng Power , ZTE Corp and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC).
Huaneng Power jumped 5.3 percent in Hong Kong and 1 percent in Shanghai. ZTE sank 1.3 percent in Hong Kong and 1.5 percent in Shenzhen, while SMIC was up 1.6 percent.
China Mobile dived 3.7 percent, recovering marginally from touching a three-month low earlier, after missing expectations on Monday with a nearly 9 percent drop in third-quarter net profit as social messaging applications ate into the company’s traditional revenue streams.
There were, however, gains for Tianjin-related counters in the mainland after the official China Securities Journal reported on Tuesday that the northeastern Chinese port city is likely to win approval for its own free trade zone.
In Shanghai, Tianjin Port Holdings, Tianjin Marine Shipping and Tianjin Quanyechang Group all surged by 10 percent, while Tianjin Realty Development jumped 6.5 percent. In Hong Kong, Tianjin Port Development gained 5.3 percent.
CSR Corporation Ltd spiked 4.6 percent in Hong Kong and 6.3 percent in Shanghai after the subway technology manufacturer entered into certain contracts, raising hopes for more for the sector.