Hong Kong shares may start lower, Tencent in focus after profit miss
HONG KONG, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may start lower on Thursday as investors return to the market after a typhoon forced the cancellation of trade on Wednesday, with the early focus likely on Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings after its quarterly earnings came in below expectations.
Tencent, China's largest Internet company by revenue, missed analysts' estimates with an 18.4 percent rise in second-quarter profit as higher marketing costs for its WeChat social messaging service hurt earnings.
Other companies due to report earnings later in the day include China Mobile, Anhui Conch Cement, Swire Pacific and Hong Kong Exchanges .
On Tuesday, the Hang Seng Index ended up 1.2 percent at 22,541.1 points, the highest closing level since May 29. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong jumped 2.6 percent.
Elsewhere in Asia at 0050 GMT, Japan's Nikkei was down 1.3 percent. South Korea's markets are shut on Thursday for a public holiday.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* China is intensifying its investigation into rampant bribery in the pharmaceutical and medical services sector with a fresh three-month probe slated to begin on Thursday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
* Lenovo Group Ltd, the world's largest PC maker, booked a forecast-beating 23 percent jump in April-June net profit to deliver its second-best quarterly earnings, as its push into smartphones and tablets begins to bear fruit.
* China's biggest hypermarket chain Sun Art Retail Group Ltd posted a 14.8 percent increase in first-half net profit as an increase in the number of its stores helped it shrug off an economic slowdown.
* Macau casino SJM Holdings Ltd, controlled by the family of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, posted a 12 percent rise in first-half net profit thanks to solid demand from gamblers eager to bet in China's only legal casino hub.
* China's Baidu Inc said on Wednesday it has agreed to buy the app store of Hong Kong-listed Netdragon Websoft Inc for $1.85 billion in cash in what would be the biggest deal in China's IT sector.
* China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) has won final government approval to build the country's first floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, the company said on Wednesday.
* Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, the world's largest international air cargo carrier, is scaling back seating capacity on some long-haul routes to offset declines in its air freight business, allowing it to post a first-half net profit on Wednesday.
* Sports shoe manufacturer Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd said its first half net profit fell 29 percent to $194 million.
* China's CITIC Pacific said repairs at its Australian iron ore project were taking longer than expected and gave no date for starting shipments from the vastly over-budget $8 billion project, already around four years behind schedule. Its first half net profit fell 19 percent to HK$4.5 billion.
* Chinese gold producer Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd said first half net profit plunged 54 percent to 1.1 billion yuan.
* Global sourcing firm Li & Fung Ltd's first-half net profit tumbled nearly 70 percent to its lowest level in eight years on sluggish consumer sentiment in Europe and the United States, but it said it was on track to recover this year.
* Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd, which manufactures minibuses, automotive components and sedans in China, posted a 52 percent rise in first half net profit to 2.03 billion yuan.
* China Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd said it holds 3.197 billion shares, or 89.82 percent, of Yashili International Holdings Ltd at close of a general offer. Trading in Yashili shares will suspend pending restoration of the public float.(Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)