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China shares slip from multi-week high, Hong Kong weaker too

Clement Tan
Wednesday, 4 Dec 2013 | 11:16 PM ET

* HSI -0.3pct, H-shares -0.2 pct, CSI300 -0.1 pct

* Profit taking hits ZTE A-shares after China issues 4G licenses

* China Mobile outshines rivals after reported Apple iPhone deal

* China Rongsheng sinks after yet another profit warning

HONG KONG, Dec 5 (Reuters) - China shares slipped from multi-week highs early on Thursday led by telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp as investors took profits after Beijing issued long-awaited 4G licenses to China's three biggest mobile operators.

China Mobile rose, while small rivals China Unicom and China Telecom erased early gains after the Wall Street Journal reported that the country's largest mobile operator has agreed to a deal with Apple Inc to offer the iPhone on its network.

"People are selling ZTE on the 4G license issue," said a Shanghai-based dealer with a major Chinese brokerage. ZTE fell more than 5 percent in Shenzhen, but is still up more than 63 percent on the year.

"The thing about 4G licenses and how ZTE stands to gain from the increased capital expenditure by the telco operators has been well anticipated in the last few months," the same dealer added.

At midday, the Shanghai Composite Index, which closed on Wednesday at its highest since Sept. 12, was down 0.1 percent. The CSI300 of the biggest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings also slipped 0.1 percent.

Offshore Chinese markets in Hong Kong were weighed down by lingering jitters about a cut in U.S. monetary stimulus after recent economic data came in stronger than expected, with investors now eyeing Friday's monthly employment report.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.3 percent to 23,653.5 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong dropped 0.2 percent. If losses hold, this would be their third consecutive daily loss.

The Chinese banking sector was a key drag after central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan pledged on Wednesday to quicken interest rate reforms and unveil a long-awaited deposit insurance system for banks, reaffirming key reforms laid out by the leadership last month.

China Merchants Bank slid 1 percent in Shanghai and 0.4 percent in Hong Kong. Non-banking financials rose in the onshore market, with Citic Securities up 0.9 percent in Shanghai.

China Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd has priced Asia's biggest initial public offering this year at the top of its marketing range after rampant investor interest in a company that converts China's growing pile of bad loans into profits.

Standard Chartered shares tumbled 4.3 percent after warning that 10 years of record earnings are likely to end this year, with profit set to fall because of losses in Korea, a slowdown in its key Asian markets and tougher regulations.

There were also losses for China Rongsheng Heavy Industries shares, which fell 3.5 percent after the mainland's largest private shipbuilder said on Wednesday that it expects to report a substantial full-year loss just months after it appealed to the government for financial help.

China Longyuan Power shares climbed 1.2 percent in Hong Kong after reporting a 30 percent rise in wind-power output in November from a year earlier. Deutsche Bank said this implies a 10 percent improvement in wind utilization, which is an achievement given the high base in the fourth quarter last year.

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