* HSI +0.2 pct, H-shares +0.4 pct, CSI300 +0.7 pct
* HK shut at noon for holiday, will resume trading on
* China financials jump, hopes of more investment from
* Moutai tumbles after Beijing booze ban
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Dec 24 Mainland China shares outshone
other Asian markets on Monday, helped by strength in financials
after state-run media reported of more fund allocation by the
country's social security funds and raised expectations of
additional investment in the sector.
The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen
listings went into the midday trading recess up 0.7 percent,
while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5 percent.
Strength in A-shares buoyed Hong Kong, which shut at midday
for the Christmas holiday and will only resume trading on
Thursday. The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.2 percent and the
China Enterprises Index gained 0.4 percent.
"People are expecting money to roll into Chinese banking and
other financial A-shares. It's the first sector people generally
expect government-related funds to look at," said Jackson Wong,
Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales.
The official China Securities Journal newspaper reported
that the National Social Security Fund has distributed funds to
fund managers who have successfully applied to manage the
increased fund allocation.
The same report also said the Guangdong provincial social
security authority has completed allocating 100 billion yuan
($16.05 billion) for investment in the last three months.
China Merchants Bank was among the top
boosts to the CSI300, rising 3.9 percent to its highest since
China Merchant is now up more than 23 percent in December in
Shanghai, set for its best monthly performance in 3-1/2 years.
Despite still being some way from peaks in February this year,
the stock is now 4.1 percent higher in 2012, set for its first
annual gain in three years.
In Hong Kong, China Merchant climbed 1.2 percent, and is now
up 11.2 percent in December and 5.1 percent on the year.
Much of the rally in the Chinese banking sector this month
has come after China's insurance regulator abolished limits for
insurance firms' investments in the country's banks.
Previously, firms were unable to invest in more than two
banks if they owned more than 5 percent of any single bank.
Among the mainland's "Big Four" banks, Agricultural Bank of
China (AgBank) rose 0.7 percent in Shanghai and
climbed 0.8 percent in Hong Kong, also helped by positive
headlines out of an annual agricultural work conference in
Beijing over the weekend.
Beijing pledged to better protect farmers' rights to their
land, while boosting incomes and public services in rural areas
to narrow the rural-urban divide in the world's second-largest
economy, state-run media reported.
MOUTAI SLAMMED AFTER CHINA BOOZE BAN
While Chinese banks rallied in December, alcohol stocks
extended their November downward spiral.
Kweichow Moutai led a tumble in the country's
alcohol sector on Monday after Beijing banned its top brass from
hosting boozy banquets while working, Communist Party chief Xi
Jinping's latest anti-corruption move.
Shares in Moutai, whose premium white spirits are much
favoured by the Chinese military, fell 4.7 percent in Shanghai
at midday, unwinding modest December gains.
The ban, announced in state media on Saturday, also bars
senior military officials from staying in luxury hotels while on
business, and comes after Xi made similar demands as he takes
aim at the long, discursive meetings and extravagant welcoming
ceremonies that mark official life in China.