China shares outshine Asia on reform hopes, buoying Hong Kong

Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:10am GMT

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* HSI +1.5 pct, H-shares +2.8 pct, CSI300 +2.9 pct

* More light shed on reform details agreed at party plenum

* Gains in markedly stronger volumes, help reverse weekly losses

* Sun Art Retail dives after Q3 sales disappoint

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, Nov 15 (Reuters) - China shares outpaced most Asian peers on Friday, after local media reports provided some details on the reforms the Communist Party had agreed at a policy meeting, easing initial disappointment earlier this week.

Strength in mainland markets helped accentuate gains in Hong Kong, which were also buoyed by hopes that easy U.S. monetary policy could stay in place after favourable comments by the Federal Reserve's presumptive chief Janet Yellen.

Gains in both markets came in strong volumes, a marked change from the anemic levels of the last two weeks. Shanghai bourse volumes at midday have nearly reached the full-day total recorded in the previous two sessions.

"There's been a change of expectations on reforms today after the initial communique on Tuesday had disappointed many with its vagueness," said Guo Yanling, a Shanghai-based analyst at brokerage Shanghai Securities.

By midday, the CSI300 index of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-shares rose 2.9 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 2.3 percent. Gains on Friday so far helped both onshore indexes move back above a key technical level at their respective 100-day moving averages.

The Hang Seng Index rose 1.5 percent to 22,986.8 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong spiked 2.8 percent. Gains on the day so far helped all indexes swing into gains for the week.

China's reform plan approved by the party plenum was "unprecedented" and fundamental changes are expected after upgrading the market's role in the economy, a senior party official said in comments published on Friday.

Yang Weimin, vice head of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs, told the official People's Daily in an interview that a more detailed document to be released next week will involve reforms in 15 areas and 60 specific tasks in 20,000 words.

The initial communique that emerged late on Tuesday had spawned doubts about the government's commitment to reforming the world's second-largest economy.

Large cap companies outperformed in the A-share market after the Securities Times reported on Friday that its parent, the securities regulator, plans to accelerate a move to force greater accountability on listed companies for not paying out dividends if they are able to do so.

Xiao Gang, the chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, was reported by the official China Securities Journal to have said that the "decisive" role markets will now play in China will "usher in unprecedented opportunities for developing the country's capital market."

Citic and Haitong Securities , the country's two-largest brokerages, each jumped about 5 percent in Hong Kong. In Shanghai, Haitong spiked nearly 9 percent, while Citic jumped 7.6 percent.

Gains for Chinese banking shares came in spite of a jump in money rates in the mainland. China's benchmark seven-day bond repurchase agreement opened at 5.2 percent on Friday morning, up nearly a full percentage point from its closing quote of 4.3 percent Thursday.

Beijing Enterprises Water and China Everbright International underperformed, having traded up 1.1 percent and flat, respectively, after China Daily reported Premier Li Keqiang as saying China will open its energy conservation and environmental protection industries to foreign and private investment.

Shares of Sun Art Retail, the mainland biggest hypermart operator, tumbled 6.1 percent in Hong Kong after third-quarter sales came in below expectations. Its net profit had trumped consensus expectations, but that was largely due to its low base, according to CICC analysts.

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