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Hong Kong shares slip in weak trade, cash shortage pinches China markets
June 18, 2013 / 5:07 AM / 4 years ago

Hong Kong shares slip in weak trade, cash shortage pinches China markets

* HSI -0.6 pct, H-shares -0.9 pct, CSI300 +0.3 pct

* ‘Big Four’ China banks lackluster despite higher state stakes

* Losses for China property deepen after home-price data

* GCL-Poly, Shenzhou Intl tumble after share deals

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, June 18 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares slipped after two days of gains with investors selling recent outperformers and turnover low as global markets brace for this week’s U.S. Federal Reserve policymaking meeting.

Mainland China markets were also broadly weaker on Tuesday, as the People’s Bank of China again refrained from injecting funds into the interbank market despite a cash shortage at a time of feeble economic data.

At midday, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.2 percent, while the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings inched up 0.3 percent. Both indexes were still near six-month lows.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.7 percent and the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong declined 0.9 percent.

Both Hong Kong indexes are languishing near their lowest since the third quarter last year. The H-share index has corrected nearly 15 percent from a May peak, largely after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said it may “take a step down” in bond purchases in coming months.

“This correction has created some opportunities for investors with a longer time horizon, but it’s still quite a tough sell right now, with most just waiting to see what the Fed will do,” said Wang Ao-chao, UOB Kay Hian’s Shanghai-based head of research.

“On a relative basis in Asia, some money may flow from India and Southeast Asia into China equities at some point later this year, but at this moment, there are just too many sources of uncertainty,” Wang added.

Most Chinese property developers listed in Hong Kong surrendered Monday’s share price gains after official data showed home prices in the mainland rose at the fastest pace this year in May, though the pace of monthly gains slowed.

China Overseas Land fell 1.9 percent and China Resources Land tumbled 3.2 percent to near its lowest in two months. CR Land announced after markets shut on Monday that its chairman was stepping down.

Their rivals listed in the mainland held onto slim gains. China Vanke was up 0.7 percent in Shenzhen, while Poly Real Estate inched 0.2 percent higher in Shanghai.

GCL-Poly Energy plunged 12.4 percent to HK$1.84 after a China Investment Corporation unit sold 1.2 billion shares - 7.75 percent of the solar energy firm’s share capital - at HK$1.87 each.

Shenzhou International Group also saw heavy volumes, tumbling 7.1 percent after the company unveiled plans to sell 69 million new shares at HK$22.40 apiece, a 9.1 percent discount to Monday’s close.

Both deals suggested there was still underlying demand in the secondary market - if shares are priced at a sufficient discount.

China state investor Central Huijin’s move to increase its A-share stakes in the country’s “Big Four” banks failed to ignite markets in the mainland and Hong Kong. Their H-share listings were all down on the day.

In Shanghai, Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) , China Construction Bank (CCB) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) had gains of less than a percentage point, while Bank of China was flat.

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