Hong Kong shares may start lower after tepid China data
HONG KONG, March 11 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start weaker on Monday after Chinese data over the weekend showed an uneven economic recovery, which is seen slowing earnings growth for Chinese companies.
Data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed the consumer price index rose 3.2 percent in February from a year ago, versus expectations of a 3.0 percent rise, while annual industrial production (IP) growth in January and February combined at 9.9 percent was the lowest since October 2012 - the starting point of China's nascent economic recovery.
Last Friday, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.4 percent to close at its highest since Feb. 20 at 23,092 points. Friday's gains helped the benchmark rise 0.9 percent on the week and break above chart resistance seen at around 23,000.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.7 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 1 percent at 01000 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* China's consumer price inflation is forecast to be around 3 percent in 2013, the price monitoring unit of the country's top economic planning agency, the National Development & Reform Commission, said on Monday.
* Chinese state-owned People's Insurance Company of China Group (PICC), one of the country's largest insurers, could complete an A-share listing in Shanghai in the second half of this year, the firm's chairman Wu Yan told Reuters.
* The two billionaire co-chairmen of property goliath Sun Hung Kai Properties and a former senior government official pleaded not guilty on Friday to involvement in one of Hong Kong's biggest corruption cases.
* China Yurun Food Group Ltd said it expected its 2012 results to record a substantial fall from 2011 due to macro-economic uncertainties.
* Renhe Commercial Holdings Co Ltd said it expected to record a decrease in profit for 2012 due to a fall in net valuation gains on investment properties.
* Chongqing Machinery & Electric Co Ltd said it expected to record a decline in 2012 profit as China reduced its investment on projects. The decrease was also due to a decline in orders, increasing competition and rising labour costs.
* China Modern Dairy Holdings Ltd said its Modern Farming (Group) Co Ltd unit has obtained approval from regulators to issue up to 1.4 billion yuan short term notes within two years to fund its operations and business development.