November 5, 2012 / 8:55 AM / 5 years ago

Hong Kong, China shares weaker as rally pauses; Foxconn surges

* HSI -0.5 pct, CSI300 -0.2 pct, Shanghai Comp -0.1 pct

* Turnover dips a fourth as caution sets in ahead of US elections

* Financials weak on profit-taking, fund inflow hopes aid developers

* Foxconn posts biggest ever single-day jump after Citi upgrade

By Vikram Subhedar

HONG KONG, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares eased slightly on Monday, as caution ahead of the U.S. presidential elections spurred mild profit-taking in financials after a strong run-up last week lifted the Hang Seng Index to a 15-month high.

The Hang Seng ended 0.5 percent down at 22,006.4 points, after recording a 2.6 percent gain last week. The index is up nearly 20 percent this year.

Bucking the overall weak trend were shares of Foxconn International Holdings, the world’s biggest contract maker of cellphones, which surged as much as 35 percent after Citigroup upgraded the stock to a ‘buy’ and said it expected the firm to start assembling iPhones this year. [I D :nL3E8M50KF]

Shares closed up 31.9 percent in their biggest ever single-day jump adding $820 million to Foxconn International’s market value. Foxconn shares are still down nearly 28 percent this year.

The China Enterprises Index, one of Asia’s best performing benchmarks last month, was down 0.6 percent.

On the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings closed down 0.2 percent and the Shanghai Composite eased 0.1 percent.

“Essentially risk appetite is still there ,but it’s a bit subdued,” said Tom Kaan, a director at Louis Capital Markets in Hong Kong, adding that the market may be taking its lead from stocks on Wall Street which fell despite better-than-expected jobs data.

“But the flow of funds into Asia is on and Hong Kong is one of the biggest beneficiaries,” said Kaan, recommending investors to keep adding blue chips such as Hutchison Whampoa on any weakness.

Persistent capital inflows into Hong Kong has forced the territory’s monetary authority to intervene 10 times in two weeks to defend its currency peg as money flowing in pushed the Hong Kong dollar to the strong end of its trading range.

Hopes of continued inflows supported Hong Kong property shares, the only sub-sector to trade higher on Monday. The property sub-index was up 0.3 percent .

Those gains were not enough, however, to offset profit-taking in index heavyweights such as HSBC Holdings and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) which fell 0.3 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, after their rally last month.

HSBC reported third-quarter results after market hours and said it posted profits before taxes of $3.5 billion and said potential financial penalties in the U.S. for lax anti-money laundering controls in Mexico could be significantly higher than the amount it had set aside.

The bank took a $1.15 billion hit to cover a potential fine in the U.S and UK mis-selling, having earlier set aside $700 million in July.

Its London-listed shares were trading down 2.5 percent, extending losses after the earnings.

Financials were weak on the mainland as well with China Life down 0.8 percent and rival insurer Ping An off 0.7 percent. Banking shares were on the backfoot led by Bank of China which was down 0.7 percent.

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