* HSI, H-shares flat; CSI300 +0.1 pct
* Policy jitters hit China, Hong Kong property sectors
* China policy details ahead of meetings next week seen key
* Chinese brokers lifted by move to expand A-share short
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Feb 25 Hong Kong shares lingered at a
2013 low on Monday, as strength in index heavyweight HSBC
Holdings offset weakness in the local property sector after the
city government announced more measures last week to cool the
The mainland Chinese market rebounded from multi-week lows,
but pared early gains after a private preliminary survey of
February manufacturing activity in the world's second-largest
economy slipped to its lowest in four months.
The Hang Seng Index went into the midday trading
break flat, staying at last Friday's 2013 closing low. The China
Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong
Kong was also flat.
The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen
listings rose 0.2 percent from its lowest close since Jan. 28
last Friday, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained
The CSI300 saw its worst weekly loss since July 2010 last
week, with offshore China markets suffering steep losses as
well, on fears of more tightening after the Chinese central bank
moved to aggressively drain funds from the interbank market.
"It's a waiting game at the moment, with the U.S. Fed chief
testimony on Tuesday and the outcome of the elections in Italy
due to come. We're not sure if this is the bottom," said Jackson
Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales.
"But a strong mainland market will help. Investors will be
looking out for details of proposed policy changes leading up to
China's annual parliamentary meetings next week," Wong added.
Chinese property shares dived after the official China
Securities Journal reported on Monday that Beijing is likely to
unveil new property tightening measures before the annual
National People's Congress on March 5, where Xi Jinping is
expected to be confirmed as China's new president.
The newspaper report listed expanding property taxes and
implementing limits on house purchases in more cities as two
possible measures, which while not new, rattled investors.
Shares of China Vanke, the country's largest
developer by sales, dived 3 percent in Shenzhen to its lowest
since Dec. 25. Poly Real Estate shed 2.7 percent in
In Hong Kong, China Resources Land slid 1.6
percent, cutting gains on the year to 3.3 percent. Agile
Property shed 2.5 percent.
The Hong Kong property sector was also weaker after the city
government imposed higher stamp duties and home loan curbs on
property transactions late last Friday in a sixth round of
policy measures to cool an overheated property
Property agent Midland Holding slumped 5.5
percent, but went into the midday break near the day's highs.
Sun Hung Kai Properties lost 2.3 percent, while Cheung
Kong Holdings and New World Development each
lost nearly 2 percent.
EARNINGS IN FOCUS
Corporate earnings is a growing focus. Just under a tenth of
HK-listed companies tracked by Thomson Reuters StarMine have
reported 2012 earnings and initial data suggests there could be
more misses than beats in the 2012 results season.
In Hong Kong, 53 percent of the companies that have reported
so far have missed expectations, with the biggest
disappointments among industrials.
ANTA Sports rose 1.9 percent from Friday's near
two-week low ahead of its final 2012 earnings, due at the midday
break. Up 10.3 percent this year to date, ANTA is currently
trading at a 3 percent discount to its historical median forward
12-month earnings multiple, according to StarMine.
Shares of insurer AIA Group hovered near all-time
highs, inching up 0.5 percent on the day. Now up 6 percent on
the year, AIA is currently trading at a 10 percent premium over
its historical 12-month forward earning multiple as investors
opt for its perceived earnings safety.
According to StarMine, three of 17 analysts upgraded their
forecasts for AIA's full year 2012 earnings by an average of
23.7 percent in the last 30 days. AIA is due to post its
earnings results on Feb. 27.
Also stronger on Monday was Europe's largest bank and Hang
Seng Index heavyweight HSBC Holdings, up 0.6 percent.
Chinese oil majors were also lifted by China's first increase in
retail gasoline and diesel prices this year from Monday. CNOOC
Ltd rose 0.5 percent.
Chinese brokers rose, with Haitong Securities
up 1 percent in Shanghai and 0.7 percent in
Hong Kong after the official China Securities Journal reported
an expansion of a short selling pilot scheme from Feb. 28.