Hong Kong shares seen flat, China cash market in focus
HONG KONG, July 19 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares are expected to start steady on Friday, with investors monitoring mainland Chinese markets for any signs of a repeat of last month's cash crunch after money market rates on Thursday briefly hit their highest levels since then.
An early spike in China's overnight cash rate on Thursday triggered fears of a repeat of last month's credit crunch, knocking down stocks on worries firms would find it harder to raise funds even as money markets shrugged off the news.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index ended down 0.1 percent at 21,345.2 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong edged up 0.1 percent. On the week, they are up 0.3 and 0.6 percent, respectively.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.6 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.1 percent at 0033 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* China had told local governments to speed up the spending of their budgets and cut the amounts of surplus money to be carried over, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday, the latest move to increase efficiency in the use of government money.
* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday the government will keep policy stable and make macro-controls more targeted and forward-looking to stabilise economic growth.
* Chinese regulators will allow more banks to issue asset-backed securities (ABS) in a bid to activate credit to support the slowing economy, industry sources said.
* GOME Electrical Appliances, backed by private equity firm Bain Capital, said on Friday profitability has significantly improved and it expects to swing into profit in the first half of the year from losses a year ago.
* Huadian Power said its expects to post an increase in its interim net profit of up to 530 percent from a year ago, due to declining coal prices.
* China Unicom said it added 3.8 million new mobile subscribers and 4.1 million new 3G subscribers in June.
* New China Life Insurance said its chairman purchased 23,000 of the company's shares listed in Hong Kong at $21.77 per shares, increasing his stake to 73,000 H-shares.
* Ajisen China said executive director and chief operating officer (COO) Yin Yibing has resigned with effect from July 18 for personal and health reasons after a three-month temporary leave of absence. Lau Si Sing will replace him as COO.(Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)