Hong Kong shares may weaken; soft U.S., China data weigh

HONG KONG Thu May 2, 2013 2:12am BST

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HONG KONG May 2 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could return from a mid-week Labour Day holiday weaker on Thursday, after soft China manufacturing data and a disappointing jobs report in the United States heightened concerns about the global economy.

China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) released on Wednesday fell to 50.6 in April from an 11-month high in March of 50.9. The HSBC final PMI for April will be released later in the day.

Among the latest pieces of evidence to suggest slower U.S. economic growth, payrolls processor ADP reported Wednesday that private employers added 119,000 jobs in April, well below economists' expectations for 150,000 new jobs.

On Tuesday, the Hang Seng Index ended up 0.7 percent at 22,737 points, the highest close since March 12. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 1.2 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.3 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.1 percent at 0058 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* China's top newspaper warned on Wednesday that some government officials were avoiding new President Xi Jinping's graft-busting instructions to be frugal by taking banquets and other lavish displays underground, including hiding liquor in water bottles.

* Casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp, owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, on Wednesday posted better-than- expected first-quarter earnings, helped by good results in Macau. Sands said Sands China Ltd saw net income increase 63.3 percent to $452.9 million in the first quarter.

* IBM and Lenovo have called off negotiations over a multibillion-dollar deal in which the Chinese company would have bought Big Blue's low-end server business, Fortune magazine cited unidentified sources as saying on Wednesday.

* CNOOC Ltd said it is proposing to issue senior notes to professional investors, raising funds to repay part of a $6.0 billion short-term credit facility that it entered to finance its recent acquisition of Nexen Inc.

* Swire Pacific's Swire Properties Ltd saw the retail sales of its Pacific Place Mall fell one percent for the first quarter of 2013 while Cityplaza Mall grew 3.5 percent and Citygate Outlets surged 22.1 percent during the quarter.

* Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd said it would buy a commercial building in Paris, adjacent to The Peninsula Paris hotel, for 56 million euros as it aims to balance its hotel and non-hotel properties.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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