(Corrects last paragraph to show time period for earnings change was 2013 not 2012)
* HSI -0.2 pct, H-shares -0.4 pct, CSI300 -0.3 pct
* Chinese banks A shares strong, limit losses
* Citic Securities, Foxconn slid after profit warnings
* Apple suppliers tumble after Apple’s revenue miss
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Jan 24 (Reuters) - China shares surrendered strong early gains on Thursday, weighing on Hong Kong, after North Korea said it was proceeding with plans for more rocket launches and a nuclear test.
Mainland China investors had chased gains in the banking sector after the HSBC flash purchasing managers index (PMI) for January, the earliest preview of China’s economic health in 2013, came in at its highest in two years.
The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.3 percent at midday, while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.1 percent.
Both had gained around 2 percent in early trade, and had looked set to break above a trading range they had been bounded in for the last two weeks.
The Hang Seng Index was down 0.2 percent at 23,599.3 points, slipping further from chart resistance at about 23,708, the high on May 31 and June 1, 2011. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 0.4 percent.
“Technically speaking, this reversal doesn’t look good for the A-share market. But it could spark some buying on dips, I doubt it fundamentally changes anything until more facts emerge,” said Wang Ao-chao, UOB-Kay Hian’s Shanghai-based head of research.
North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its “enemy”, according to its state news agency.
China Life Insurance was up by as much as 2.8 percent in Shanghai, but went into the midday trading break down 0.9 percent and was the top drag on onshore China indexes. Its Hong Kong listing also shed 0.9 percent.
Citic Securities was flat in Shanghai, but down 1.5 percent in Hong Kong after China’s largest listed brokerage warned of a 66 percent decline in 2012 earnings from a year earlier.
Some members of the Chinese banking sector, which has trailed the surge in the financial sector for brokerages and insurance firms in the last few months, clung onto gains on the day.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) rose 1.7 percent in Shanghai, but was flat in Hong Kong after the official China Securities Journal reported its volume of its renminbi cross-border business jumped 70 percent in 2012 from a year earlier.
A Shanghai-based trader with one of the larger Chinese brokerages said institutional buying was driving strength in the Chinese banking sector, with retail investors still mostly sitting on the sidelines.
Shares of Apple Inc’s suppliers were hit after Apple missed revenue expectations for a third straight quarter after sales of its flagship iPhone came in below Wall Street’s expectations.
AAC Technologies tumbled 5.7 percent to its lowest in more than a week in Hong Kong. Goertek, which supplies speakers to Apple, dived 5.8 percent to its lowest in three weeks in Shenzhen.
Foxconn International dived 5.6 percent after the firm said it expected to record a net loss for 2012 as a result of low demand from its major clients.
China Mobile slid 1.2 percent to a two-month low after JP Morgan analysts downgraded their rating on the stock from “neutral” to “underweight,” expecting the country’s largest mobile operator to post its first negative year-on-year earnings change for 2013. (Editing by Kim Coghill)