Hong Kong shares may open flat in directionless market
HONG KONG, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares are set to open flat in a sluggish market, as investors keep to the sidelines ahead of corporate earnings results from major blue chips in the next few weeks.
On Monday, the Hang Seng Index closed down 0.3 percent at 23,381.94, weighed down by Chinese insurers and banks and pressured by losses in mainland China after the long holiday break. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.9 percent.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.24 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI eased 0.07 percent at 0020 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* SCMP Group Ltd, the publisher of Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper, said on Monday it is in talks regarding the possible acquisition of a group of media companies in Hong Kong.
* China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is favoured to secure a majority stake in troubled U.S. electric car maker Fisker Automotive, according to two sources familiar with Fisker's search for a strategic investor or partner. Fisker is currently weighing bids from two Chinese auto makers: Geely and Dongfeng Motor Group Co..
* Chinese gold miner Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd , said on Monday its 2012 unaudited net profit fell 9 percent, weighed down by losses at its smelting entities and higher production and management costs.
* Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's property firm Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd said on Monday it had dropped a plan to list its extended stay hotel business and would instead sell part of the unit to generate cash.
* Brazil's Vale SA 6210.HK>, the world's No. 2 mining company, declared force majeure on a number of coal shipment contracts from Mozambique on Feb. 15 after heavy rain halted rail shipments, according to a securities filing late on Monday.
* Russia's top crude producer Rosneft said its chief executive had started talks in China over the possibility of increasing oil supplies to the world's largest energy consumer. The company said it had discussed the possibility of joint development of Russia's shelf with Sinopec and CNPC, parent of refiner PetroChina .
* Guangshen Railway Company Ltd said the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Railways are finalizing a proposal in relation to an adjustment on rail freight rates in China in the near future.
* Intelligent surveillance disaster alert and rescure coordination systems distributor Anxin-China Holdings Ltd said it expected to record a substantial increase in 2012 net profit due to an increase in the number of surveillance points installed in China.
* Cheuk Nang (Holdings) Ltd said it expected to record a significant increase in profit for the six months ended in December thanks to an increase in change in fair value of investment properties and gain in fair value adjustment of financial assets.