* HSI, H-shares -0.1 pct; CSI300 -0.9 pct
* Reported wealth product probe hits mid-sized Chinese banks
* China Life falls after clarifying chairman's comments
* New World Development up on spinoff plan
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 12 China shares could post a
fourth-straight daily loss on Tuesday, as mid-sized banks were
dragging down the index at midday after official media reported
that the country's banking regulator has launched a nationwide
probe of wealth management products.
A reversal of early gains in the mainland put Hong Kong on
the defensive. The Hang Seng Index and the China
Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese listings in
Hong Kong each went into the midday break down 0.1 percent.
The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen
A-share listings sank 0.9 percent, while the Shanghai Composite
Index shed 0.8 percent. If the losses persist, this
would be their longest losing streak since November.
Midday Shanghai volume was the heaviest since Thursday and
Hong Kong midday turnover was its highest in a week.
"It's not a good time to be doing anything major right now,
everybody's expecting the different ministries to announce
specific measures from policies announced at the annual
parliamentary meetings," said Zhong Hua, a Shanghai-based
strategist at Guotai Junan Securities.
In a sign this may be starting, the official China
Securities Journal reported on Tuesday that the China Banking
Regulatory Commission is focusing a probe on wealth management
products that channel depositors' money into a pool of assets,
rather than a single account.
Such products are not transparent and could create room for
illegal operations, the media report said. The article, citing
unidentified sources, added that the regulator is urging banks
to stop selling wealth management products that do not conform
to new rules by end-April.
China Minsheng Bank sank 2.2 percent to its
lowest in a week in Shanghai. In Shenzhen, Ping An Bank
fell 2.8 percent, cutting its gains for the year to
The chairman of China Minsheng, the country's only sizable
privately-controlled bank, told reporters on Monday that China
should sell down state-owned shares in mid-sized commercial
banks to less than 50 percent.
China Life Insurance tumbled 2.6
percent in Hong Kong and 2.7 percent in Shanghai after
clarifying late on Monday that its chairman's comments about an
improvement in profits were his opinion and should not be taken
as an earnings forecast. Its Hong Kong shares were suspended on
PROPERTY BUCKS WEAKNESS
Shares of New World Development climbed 2.1
percent after the Hong Kong property developer said it is
considering a possible spin-off and separate listing of some
Before Tuesday, New World shares were languishing near a
December low. Gains on the day also lifted Hong Kong property
rivals, with Sun Hung Kai Properties up 0.8 percent.
Chinese property and cement counters were buoyed by mainland
media reports citing official data as showing that in the first
two months of 2013, national cement production rose 10.8 percent
from a year earlier.
This raised hopes that annual cement demand will increase
for the first time in four years. The news reports also
suggested that home-purchase controls will not adversely impact
Anhui Conch Cement gained 0.8 percent
in Shanghai and 0.5 percent in Hong Kong. China Vanke
climbed 1.1 percent in Shenzhen, while China
Overseas Land was up 0.2 percent in Hong Kong.