Hong Kong shares may start weaker, developers in focus

HONG KONG Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:48am GMT

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HONG KONG Feb 25 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start weaker on Monday, dragged down by local property developers after the city government imposed higher stamp duties and home loan curbs on property transactions late last Friday.

Hong Kong's latest effort to cool an overheated property sector that boasts some of the world's most expensive apartments is seen aimed at reducing demand.

But a strong mainland market could help sentiment. China will soon relax rules for qualified foreign investors when they channel their offshore yuan holdings into China's securities market, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.

Chinese sportswear brand ANTA Sports and Hong Kong utilities giant CLP Holdings are expected to post full-year 2012 earnings later in the day.

Last Friday, the Hang Seng Index shed 0.5 percent to 22,782.4 and it lost 2.8 percent on the week. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings fell 1 percent on the day and slumped 4.5 percent on the week.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.8 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.2 percent at 0022 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* China will raise the retail price ceiling for gasoline and diesel from Monday in response to increases in global oil prices, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Sunday.

* China's top packaging products supplier Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Ltd posted a 21 percent drop in first-half net profit to 658.5 million yuan for the six months ended in December.

* Wynn Resorts Ltd, parent of Wynn Macau, said it stockholders voted overwhelmingly to remove Kazuo Okada from board of directors.

* Parkson Retail Group Ltd, which operates a network of department stores across China, said its net profit fell 24 percent year-on-year for 2012 to 850.8 million yuan.

* Barron's said in its Feb. 25 edition that Coach Inc shares look like a bargain, and the company's potential to benefit from an expanding product line and growth in Asia suggests that a recent plunge in its share price is "overblown".

* Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd said it expected its net profit for 2012 to increase significantly compared to 2011 due to unrealized valuation gains on certain properties in Hong Kong and China and gains on listed securities investments.

* Gold mining firm Lingbao Gold Company Ltd said it expected its net profit for 2012 to decline significantly compared to 2011 due to rises in raw material costs in the smelting business and an increase in finance expenses.

* China's home appliance retailer GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd said it is not aware of any plan by its controlling shareholder Wong Kwong Yu to sell his stake in the company, nor there have been any discussions with potential purchasers to sell his interest.

* Jewellery retailer Luk Fook Holdings (International) Ltd said it recorded a 42 percent growth in same stores sales in Hong Kong and Macau for its self-operated stores during Chinese new year between Feb. 3 and 16, and 32 percent growth in mainland China.

* China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd said its commercial coal production rose 6.5 percent year-on-year to 28 million tonnes in January while coal sales jumped 12.7 percent to 26.6 million tonnes.

* Vanke Property (Overseas) Ltd, which is directly controlled by China Vanke Co Ltd, said its profit attributable to shareholders amounted to HK$506.2 million in 2012, down from HK$2.47 billion in 2011.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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