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Hong Kong shares may start higher, trim February losses

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

HONG KONG, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may start higher on Thursday, trimming steep losses so far this this month, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirmed his commitment to strong stimulus.

Bernanke, facing a congressional panel for a second day, also downplayed signs of internal divisions, saying the policy of quantitative easing has the support of a "significant majority" of top central bank officials.

Sun Hung Kai Properties and Citic Pacific are among companies expected to post corporate earnings later in the day.

On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index edged up 0.3 percent to 22,577. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 0.4 percent.

The benchmarks are down 4.9 and 8.1 percent respectively so far this month, the worst performance for both indices since May 2012.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 2 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 1.1 percent at 0100 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Brazilian mining company Vale SA expects moderate growth in the Chinese steel market in 2013, a situation that should keep average prices close to current levels, a company executive said. Vale posted its first net loss in 10 years in the fourth quarter after taking $5.66 billion in charges for underperforming mines and other mills, a loss twice as big as expected.

* China Vanke Co Ltd, the country's biggest real estate developer, is looking to extend its foreign investment drive beyond the high-end U.S. market, as Beijing weighs new measures to cool mainland property prices.

* Macau casino SJM Holdings Ltd, controlled by the family of billionaire tycoon Stanley Ho, posted a 27 percent increase in net profit for 2012.

* BYD Co Ltd, the Chinese car maker backed by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett, said on Wednesday its preliminary net profit fell 94 percent in 2012 to 81 million yuan ($13 million) due to weak automobile demand in China.

* Hong Kong's dominant fixed-line telephone operator PCCW Ltd said its 2012 net profit rose 3.5 percent to HK$1.7 billion.

* Property developer Sino Land Co Ltd said its first half underlying net profit jumped 80.5 percent to HK$4.5 billion.

* Electronic components manufacturer Wing Lee Holdings Ltd said it would seek a separate listing of its properties investment unit Wing Lee Property Investments Ltd on the main board of the Hong Kong exchange by way of introduction.

* Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Ltd said it posted a first-half HK$871 million loss, against a HK$965 million profit a year ago, due to a challenging market environment where demand and margin were poor.

* MicroPort Scientific Corporation said it received regulatory approval from China's State Food and Drug Administration to sell the WILLIS intracranial stent graft system, which is used for the treatment of intracranial aneurysms.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Richard Pullin)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130227/hong-kong-shares-may-start-higher-trim-february-losses