GO
Loading...

Hong Kong shares ease, weak reopen for China markets sours mood

Monday, 8 Oct 2012 | 1:13 AM ET

(Updates to midday)

* HSI down 0.6 percent, H-share index down 1.2 percent

* Weak China markets weigh, CSI300 down 1.1 percent after holiday

* Focus on profits, not policy in China: JPM's Mowat * Tencent, AIA pull back from record highs * ZTE shares slip after draft U.S. Congress report By Vikram Subhedar

HONG KONG, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares are poised to snap a five-session streak of gains on Monday as Chinese markets reopened on a weak footing after a week-long holiday, with investors concerned China's slowdown could worsen.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.6 percent to 20,879.4 points by the midday break. The index of top locally listed Chinese shares fell 1.2 percent and was the weakest among regional benchmarks in Asia.

On the mainland, the CSI300 fell 1.1 percent while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.8 percent as domestic investors returned to the market after the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays.

Shares of PetroChina , down 0.7 percent, were the top losers on the CSI300 followed by major producers of premium liquor such as Kweichow Moutai , down 3.4 percent, partly on worries over weak sales over the Golden Week holiday.

Chinese shares in Hong Kong led losses with China Mobile

down 1.1 percent while Tencent Holdings slipped 1.7 percent, pulling away further from a record high hit last week.

Hong Kong shares had risen for five straight sessions on hopes that China would announce measures to lift growth and boost the market heading up to the once-in-a-decade leadership transition expected to get under way next month.

"I think investors are barking up the wrong tree here," said Adrian Mowat, JPMorgan's chief emerging markets strategist who maintains an "underweight" rating on China stocks.

"Our mantra on China is focus on profits not policy," said Mowat, adding that excess capacity is still a problem in China that continues to weigh on profit margins.

While the pace of cuts in earnings forecasts has slowed analysts are still trimming estimates for Chinese profits.

Over the past month, analysts have cut expectations for forward 12-month earnings for MSCI China constituents by 0.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Earnings season in the United States gets under way on Tuesday with aluminum producer Alcoa expected to show it broke even in the third quarter although investors will likely focus more on comments about global demand.

The World Bank cut its growth forecasts for the East Asia and Pacific region on Monday and said there was a risk the slowdown in China could get worse and last longer than expected.

Worries over growth kept cyclical sectors weak across the board in Hong Kong with defensives such as utilities outperforming and recent outperformers hit by profit-taking.

CLP Holdings rose 0.5 percent while Hong Kong & China Gas was up 0.4 percent. Insurer AIA Group

eased 1 percent.

ZTE Corp fell 3.7 percent, the top loser on the China Enterprises Index, after a draft report by the U.S. Congress said China's top telecommunications gear makers should be shut out of the U.S. market because they pose a security threat.

(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

((vikram.subhedar@thomsonreuters.com)(+852 28436975))

Keywords: MARKETS HONGKONG CHINA STOCKS/ UPDATE 1

  Price   Change %Change
941
---
3
---