March 27, 2013 / 1:20 AM / 5 years ago

Hong Kong shares may start steady, earnings in focus

HONG KONG, March 27 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start steady on Wednesday, tracking a subdued start on other major Asian exchanges, with investors likely to keep their attention trained on the ongoing corporate earnings reporting season.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Life Insurance and CITIC Securities Co Ltd are among Chinese financial companies due to post 2012 results later in the day.

Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd (CHALCO), Angang Steel Co Ltd, China COSCO, ZTE Corporation and Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd are among other notable releases.

On Tuesday, the Hang Seng Index closed up 0.3 percent at 22,311.1, reversing midday losses. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings shed 0.5 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.2 percent, while South Korea’s KOSPI was flat at 0056 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* China will start a more flexible system for pricing domestic fuel from Wednesday, the first major revamp for four years, to help avoid shortages and curb consumption.

* Bank of China Ltd and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd reported their worst annual earnings growth since going public, hit by central bank interest rate cuts in a slowing economy.

* Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, a ports-to-telecoms empire owned by Asia’s richest man Li Ka-shing, said on Tuesday it saw signs of recovery in major economies and the group’s operating divisions would continue to invest and expand.

* New China Life Insurance Co Ltd , which provides a broad range of life insurance products and services to individual and institutional customers, posted a 4.8 percent rise in 2012 net profit to 2.9 billion yuan.

* China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group, the country’s largest private shipbuilder by accumulated order books, posted a net loss of 572.6 million yuan ($92 million) in 2012, its worst-ever loss due to a vessel supply glut and a weak global economy.

* Air China , the country’s flagship carrier, on Tuesday reported a 33.8 percent drop in 2012 net profit on high fuel prices and weak traffic demand as China’s economy slowed.

* Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd said its 2012 net profit fell 21.5 percent to 5.2 billion yuan.

* Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd said its 2012 net profit fell 19 percent to 9.2 billion yuan.

* China’s top luxury watch distributor Hengdeli Holdings Ltd said net profit for 2012 rose 4.9 percent to 855.2 million yuan and would cautiously expand its middle-to-high-end watch retail and related businesses, focusing on the mainland China market.

* China Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd said its 2012 net profit fell to 1.26 billion yuan from 1.59 billion yuan and said it will step up its efforts on developing potential new operations and expand high-end brands and diversify its product portfolio.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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