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Hong Kong shares may bounce from 2-mth low, earnings in focus

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

HONG KONG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may bounce from a two-month low on Wednesday, tracking gains on Wall Street after comments by the U.S. Federal Reserve reassured investors about its stimulative policies and positive U.S. housing data.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke strongly defended the Fed's bond-buying stimulus before Congress on Tuesday, assuaging worries that monetary policymakers might be getting cold feet.

Esprit Holdings, Hong Kong Exchange, New World Development and casino operator SJM Holdings are among a slew of companies due to report corporate earnings later in the day.

On Tuesday, the Hang Seng Index fell 1.3 percent to 22,519.7, its lowest close since Dec. 21. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong slid 2 percent.

Both benchmarks are now negative on the year, with the Hang Seng down 0.6 percent and the China Enterprises down 2.9 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.2 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.4 percent at 0038 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Asia's No. 3 insurer, AIA Group Ltd, reported a 27 percent rise in the value of new business last fiscal year, helped by growth in Thailand and Singapore. AIA's net profit rose 89 percent to $3.02 billion.

* China's Ping An Bank has banned its branches from approving home loans as banks turn cautious on the country's frothy property market, where prices are again zooming towards record highs.

* Hong Kong commercial bank Bank of East Asia Ltd said its 2012 net profit rose 39 percent to HK$6.1 billion.

* China's gross domestic product will grow at an annualised rate of about 8 percent in the first quarter of 2013 while the consumer price index will rise around a yearly 2.6 percent, the China Securities News said, quoting the State Information Centre (SIC), a leading government think tank.

* Russia's United Company RUSAL Plc, the world's biggest aluminium producer, said law enforcement agencies were visiting its Moscow office on Tuesday in an investigation over a tax claim against a subsidiary company.

* Chinese television maker TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd said its 2012 profit attributable to owners of the parent jumped 101 percent year-on-year to HK$911 million, while sales of LCD TVs increased 43 percent year-on-year to 15.53 million sets.

* Birmingham International Holdings Ltd said it was still in talks with some interested parties on the sale of its subsidiary, Birmingham City Plc and Birmingham City Football Club.

* Chinese air conditioner maker Chigo Holdings Ltd said it expected to record a profit for 2012, from a loss in 2011, due to a fall in the cost of goods sold. This was partly offset by a drop in the amount of subsidies received in 2012 under the Chinese government's energy-saving scheme.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Richard Pullin)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130226/hong-kong-shares-may-bounce-2-mth-low-earnings-focus