November 5, 2012 / 12:50 AM / 5 years ago

Hong Kong shares seen flat to lower; US elections,China in focus

HONG KONG, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares were set for a weaker start on Monday as investors pause ahead of U.S. elections and China’s leadership change before chasing a rally that has lifted the local benchmark to a 15-month high.

The Hang Seng index had its best week in seven and closed at its highest level since Aug. 2, 2011 last Friday on strong fund inflows into the region. It gained 2.6 percent last week and is now up 20 percent for the year.

In overseas markets, stocks on Wall Street fell about 1 percent on Friday despite better-than-expected employment data, which was the last major report card on the U.S. economy before Tuesday’s presidential election.

China’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition gets underway this week with the opening of the 18th Party congress in Beijing on Nov. 8 that will usher in a new generation of leaders.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.4 percent while South Korea’s Kospi was 0.3 percent weaker as of 0020 GMT.


* China’s services sector rebounded in October from a two-year low in September on stronger activity in the construction and retail sectors, an official survey showed on Saturday, adding to signs of a modest economic recovery.

* Prudential plc said on Monday it would buy 100 percent of Thanachart Life Assurance Co Ltd, a wholly owned life insurance subsidiary of Thanachart Bank for 368 million pounds ($590 million).

* Taxi operators in China interested in electrifying their fleet can pay the full price of BYD’s e6 in installments, saving them the hefty upfront full payment they have to make for a gasoline-powered car, the Warren Buffett-backed Chinese car maker said on Sunday.

* Canada said it has extended its review of a $15.1 billion bid by China’s CNOOC Ltd for Canadian energy producer Nexen Inc by a month to Dec. 10. Ottawa is conducting the review to determine whether a takeover by the Chinese state-owned enterprise would bring a “net benefit” to Canada.

* Instant noodle maker Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp said its third-quarter results were slightly affected by false allegations circulating in the market that the company is Japanese controlled, which caused a boycott by consumers of its products.

* Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Ltd said it recorded a significant loss for the three months ended in September due to a challenging market environment where demand and margins were poor.(Reporting by Vikram Subhedar; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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