Hong Kong shares may open up, set for July gains
HONG KONG, July 31 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may start higher on Wednesday after China's politburo, the country's top decision-making body, pledged to keep economic growth stable in the second half by fine-tuning policies.
The official Xinhua news agency reported late on Tuesday that Beijing will "increase support for the real economy" and push "human-centred" urbanisation, while promoting the stable and healthy development of the real estate sector.
However, activity may remain subdued as investors mark time ahead of the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the global day. The markets will also be keenly awaiting China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) on Thursday and Friday's U.S. jobs data.
On Tuesday, the Hang Seng Index ended up 0.5 percent at 21,954 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong inched up 0.3 percent. On the month, they are now up 5.5 and 3.8 percent, respectively - each on track to post their first monthly gain in three months.
Elsewhere in Asia at 0050 GMT, Japan's Nikkei was down 1 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was flat.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Australia's foreign investment board has approved China Molybdenum Co Ltd's purchase of a majority stake in the Northparkes copper mine from Rio Tinto, clearing a significant hurdle for the $820 million deal. Trading in shares of the Chinese firm are due to resume on Wednesday.
* South Africa's Standard Bank is in advanced talks to sell its London commodity trading business to its biggest shareholder Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
* Passenger cruise ship operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd said on Wednesday it and other shareholders will sell a total of 23 million shares in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
* Coach Inc disclosed a new round of executive departures on Tuesday and reported disappointing handbag sales in North America, dashing investor hopes that the leather goods maker will rebound anytime soon.
* China's largest independent power producer Huaneng Power
International Inc said its first
half net profit jumped 165 percent to 5.6 billion yuan.
* Chinese shipping giant China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd said on Tuesday it expected its first-half loss to shrink by 70-85 percent from a year earlier.
* China Life Insurance Co Ltd said it expected its first-half earnings to be up more than 50 percent compared with the same period last year, thanks to an increase in investment income and a decrease in impairment losses.
* TPV Technology Limited said it expects to record a loss after tax for the six months that ended in June due to weakness in demand in its key markets and the provisions made for the restructuring and optimization of its manufacturing operations in Brazil and Hungary.