China shares set for best day in 2 weeks, Hong Kong tepid ahead of holiday

Thu May 16, 2013 10:39am IST

Stocks

   

* HSI +0.4 pct, H-shares -0.1 pct, CSI300 +1.3 pct

* China property A shares rebound on report of easing of refinancing curbs

* Tencent jumps after positive Q1 earnings triggers upgrades

* Negative earnings drive Parkson to lowest in more than 7 years

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, May 16 (Reuters) - Chinese shares appeared headed for their best daily gain in two weeks on Thursday, lifting the Hong Kong market, as investors chased a rally in property, brokerage and technology-related counters.

Earnings drove some of the most significant moves. Tencent Holdings jumped 5 percent to a record high after posting robust quarterly earnings, while Parkson Group dived 8.5 percent after a weak first quarter.

The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings ended a choppy morning session up 1.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1 percent as bourse volumes improved from Wednesday. Both had started the day weaker.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.4 percent, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong slipped 0.1 percent. With Hong Kong markets shut on Friday for a public holiday, they are set to snap a three-week winning streak, down 0.8 and 2.4 percent, respectively.

"It's still very much a waiting game where China policy is concerned, because the new leadership needs time to stamp its authority and set its own direction but it's inconceivable that China equities will continue to be ignored," said Larry Jiang, chief investment strategist at Guotai Junan International Securities.

Chinese property stocks listed in the mainland were stronger, buoyed by a report in the official Shanghai Securities News that regulators have eased some restrictions on the refinancing of firms with some investment in real estate.

China Vanke climbed 2.9 percent in Shenzhen, set for its first gain in four days. Poly Real Estate rose 2.3 percent in Shanghai after closing on Wednesday at its lowest since April 12.

There was also some respite for Ping An Insurance , rising 2.2 percent in Shanghai after closing on Wednesday at its lowest since early December. Its Hong Kong listing slipped 0.7 percent.

It is still down 3.8 percent on the week in Shanghai, roiled earlier this week by a temporary underwriting ban for its brokerage unit.

EARNINGS DRIVERS

Tencent Holdings was the top boost on the Hang Seng Index after posting a 37 percent rise in first quarter profit that was broadly in line with market estimates, while tripling the number of active users for its mobile chat application.

Its Hong Kong shares were also helped by a slew of price target upgrades by several major brokerages. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch upgraded its target price by almost 10 percent on higher estimates of its games, e-commerce and mobile business.

On the other hand, steep losses on Thursday for supermarket operator Parkson Retail Group sank its shares to their lowest in more than seven years as investors punished its worsening operating leverage after same store sales growth declined 2 percent in the first quarter, while rental expenses jumped 31 percent.

Deutsche Bank analysts cut their price target for Parkson's Hong Kong listing by 23 percent, expecting negative operating leverage to linger into the third quarter this year after the company management cut its 2013 growth targets.