Hong Kong shares may start weaker ahead of China trade data
HONG KONG, August 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start lower on Thursday as investors remain uncertain over when the Federal Reserve may rein in its stimulus programme, and ahead of China July trade data.
On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index fell 1.5 percent to its lowest close since July 22 at 21,588.84 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong dropped 2.1 percent. Both suffered their heaviest daily percentage loss since July 3.
China is set to release trade data on Thursday and consumer and producer price data on Friday, which may provide clues on the health of the world's second-largest economy.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.7 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.1 percent at 0047 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Brazilian miner Vale SA said on Wednesday that second-quarter profit plunged after recording $2.78 billion of foreign-exchange losses on debt and currency derivatives, one of its worst results in a decade.
* Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd's second-quarter net profit more than doubled as growth in its mass customer base offset softness in the high-roller market amid China's economic slowdown.
* Glencore Xstrata and JPMorgan Chase & Co face a U.S. lawsuit, along with the London Metal Exchange, alleging they artificially inflated aluminium prices, in the second legal challenge related to metal warehousing in a week. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, owner of the LME, said the lawsuits were without merit and the LME would contest them vigorously.
* Asia's top refiner Sinopec Corp could export about 50,000 tonnes of light diesel fuel this month after a three-month gap, as it paces its shipments based on lower government approvals for overseas sales, trading officials said.
* Orient Overseas (International) Ltd, which owns and operates container ships and terminals, posted $15.3 million loss for first half of 2013.
* Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering making a bid for the Hong Kong supermarket business being sold by Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, which controlled by Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* China Taiping Insurance Holdings Company Limited said its unit Taiping Life Insurance Company Limited would buy a commercial housing property in Beijing for 3.59 billion yuan, a deal to be funded by internal resources.
* Liu Chong Hing Investment Ltd said certain independent third parties had approached its controlling shareholder to buy a stake the company holds in Chong Hing Bank Ltd but no agreement has yet been reached. Trading in their shares will resume on Thursday.
* Luxury watch distributor Hengdeli Holdings Limited said it expected to record a fall in profit for the first half of 2013 due to impairment provisions made on some assets and a decline in gross profit margin due to adverse economic conditions.(Reporting by Yimou Lee and Donny Kwok; Editing by Eric Meijer)