Hong Kong shares seen steady ahead of China inflation data

HONG KONG, April 9 Tue Apr 9, 2013 2:12am BST

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HONG KONG, April 9 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may start slightly higher on Tuesday after encouraging U.S. corporate earnings and ahead of China's March inflation data due shortly after market open.

On Monday, the Hang Seng Index closed flat at 21,718.1. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong also ended flat.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.2 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.3 percent at 0100 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Telecom Italia, which said on Friday it had made contact with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa over a possible merger with its Italian unit, may be heading for a showdown with frustrated shareholders over an executive pay package plan that risks being rejected at the annual meeting of the former telecom monopoly on April 17.

* Top Chinese automaker SAIC Motor Corp said on Monday its March auto sales rose 17.4 percent from a year earlier to 462,508 vehicles.

* Belle International Holdings Ltd said its footwear business recorded a same store sales growth of 4.5 percent for the first quarter of 2013, while sportswear business posted a same store sales growth of 11 percent. It said it added a net 326 retail outlets in China, bringing the total number to 17,890.

* China Oil and Gas Group Ltd said it planned to issue U.S. dollar senior notes raising funds to fund capital expenditures, repay debt and for general corporate purposes.

* Intime Department Store (Group) Co Ltd said its same stores sales growth for the first quarter of 2013 was 9.5 percent.

* Yuexiu Property Co Ltd said its contracted sales value in March amounted to 1.688 billion yuan, a 19 percent drop from the same period a year ago.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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