China shares knocked off 7-1/2-mth high, Hong Kong slips

Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:49am GMT

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* HSI -0.1 pct, H-shares -0.8 pct, CSI300 -0.7 pct

* Shanghai volume robust, HK turnover weakest this year

* Profit taking hits outperforming Chinese beta plays

* Tencent jumps, GS says advertising revenue to spike

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Onshore China shares were knocked off 7-1/2-month highs on Wednesday, also sinking Hong Kong, as investors took profit on recent outperformers such as Chinese financials ahead of more China economic data at the end of the week.

In Hong Kong, Tencent Holdings bucked broader weakness, jumping 3.5 percent to its highest since mid-November after Goldman Sachs said the internet giant's advertising revenues will be bolstered by its online video strategy.

The Hang Seng Index slipped 0.1 percent to close at 23,356.99 points, retreating further from the 23,400 level that has proved an obstacle for much of the past two weeks. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.8 percent.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index and CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-shares each shed 0.7 percent, falling from their highest levels since early June, set the day before.

Losses in Shanghai came in relatively robust volumes despite slipping 7 percent from Tuesday, which saw the best volume in 10 months. Hong Kong turnover was, however, its weakest this year.

"Investors are starting to take some profit ahead of China's fourth-quarter GDP data this Friday," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales.

Monthly data for industrial output, housing prices, urban investment and retail sales, also expected on Friday, could determine whether the Hang Seng Index break above chart resistance or correct to around 23,000.

China's annual economic growth may have quickened to 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter, a Reuters poll showed, snapping seven straight quarters of weaker expansion, but the recovery is likely to be tepid and the economy may need continued policy support.

Shares of China Life Insurance, the country's largest insurer, fell 0.9 percent off a one-week high in Hong Kong and 3 percent from a 21-month high in Shanghai.

China railway counters, which carried strong 2012 gains into the new year, were also weaker on the day. China Railway Construction dropped 1 percent in Hong Kong. The decline trimmed its 2013 gains to 6 percent after a 106 percent surge in 2012.

Kweichow Moutai sank 2.3 percent after the official Shanghai Securities News reported that the leading producer of premium Chinese white spirits has dropped sanctions on suppliers for reducing prices.

Investors rotated into some consumer and technology names. Strong gains on the day for Tencent Holdings helped its stock break out of a six-week consolidation phase, suggesting it could now track the strong rally seen for Chinese internet peers listed in the United States.

CHINA PROPERTY JITTERS

Chinese property counters were a key source of weakness in the onshore market after a series of news reports spawned by a Jan. 15 report by the land survey and planning institute under the country's land and resources ministry.

Citing the report, China Business News reported that Beijing must prevent stimulative monetary policy from diminishing the impact of property controls.

Poly Real Estate tumbled 3.4 percent in Shanghai, leading a sub-index of property-related stocks down 2 percent. China Overseas Land lost 0.8 percent in Hong Kong.

Various official media reported that outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao said more research is required on tax reforms to ensure the healthy development of the real estate sector and equitable income distribution.

The official China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday that Beijing may need to increase land supply in first-tier cities this year to stabilize land prices and market expectations, citing unidentified sources.

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