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Hong Kong shares inch lower, consumer names lifts China
August 21, 2012 / 5:37 AM / 5 years ago

Hong Kong shares inch lower, consumer names lifts China

* HSI down 0.1 pct, CSI300 climbs 0.9 pct

* Turnover marginally better in both HK and China

* Tingyi tests 4-1/2 mth high, broker upgrades after H1 results

* CNOOC slips, posts 19 pct fall in H1 net profit at midday

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares dipped on Tuesday as uncertainty about the euro zone weighed on benchmark heavyweight HSBC Holdings, but food firms and retailers gained on encouraging earnings results and reports of possible steps to boost consumer spending.

The reports of further consumer sentiment steps as well as other media reports of more planned fiscal stimulus by regional governments helped put mainland Chinese markets on track for their best showing in more than a week in improved volumes.

Chinese food and beverage giant Tingyi Holdings was among those finding favour, extending gains after its first-half gross margin rose, helping trigger broker upgrades on Tuesday.

“Companies like Tingyi are the ones that have seen high growth rates in the past, but like China, are slowing down. Investors will have to get used to their slower rates of growth, but they still offer some defensive cover,” said Edward Huang, an equity analyst with Haitong International Securities.

The Hang Seng Index was down 0.1 percent at 20,078.3 by midday -- above the 20,000 level it has managed to keep for all but one day since Aug. 6.

Shares of HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, shed 0.9 percent amid uncertainty whether European Central Bank will intervene after it moved to squash speculation about the shape its planned bond-buying programme will take.

The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.4 percent. The CSI300 Index of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings was up 0.9 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6 percent.

Tingyi jumped 5.5 percent to HK$22 after earlier testing a 4-1/2 month high. Before Monday, Tingyi was down more than 18 percent on the year but is now down 6.8 percent, compared to the 8.9 percent gain on the Hang Seng Index.

Deutsche Bank analysts upgraded the stock from “hold” to “buy” while increasing their target price by 16 percent from HK$20.60 to HK$23.90.

“(Tingyi’s earnings) turnaround was driven by low input costs and, more importantly, market share gains,” they said in a report dated Aug. 21, while adding this is the first time Tingyi has held the biggest market share in noodles, tea, water and juice sectors.

Shenzhen-listed alcohol producer Wuliangye rose 2.1 percent, on track for a second-straight day of gains after posting a 50 percent increase in first half net profit late on Sunday, largely in line with expectations.

Wuliangye’s results lifted larger sector rival, Shanghai-listed Kweichow Moutai. It rose 2.3 percent and was the top boost to both onshore Chinese benchmark indices.

Both stocks have outperformed this year although the sector was hit after Moutai posted underwhelming first half earnings this month. Moutai is up 23 percent this year, while Wuliangye is up 8.5 percent, compared to a 1 percent loss for the CSI300 Index.

Belle International inched down 0.4 percent ahead of its first-half earnings later in the day. It is up 9.9 percent this year and is currently trading at 19 times forward 12-month earnings, a 15 percent discount to its historical median, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Three out of 32 analysts have revised their full year earnings-per-share estimates for the company by an average of 13.8 percent in the last 30 days, according to StarMine.

The Economic Information Daily newspaper reported China’s commerce and industry ministries, among others, may issue new policies to bolster domestic consumption later this year.

CHINA ENERGY MAJORS COME UNDER EARNINGS FOCUS

Chinese oil giant CNOOC Ltd lost 0.6 percent ahead of its first-half earnings. During the midday trading break, China’s top offshore oil producer posted a 19 percent fall in first half net profit.

It is up 13.8 percent this year and is currently trading at 8.4 times forward 12-month earnings, a 20 percent discount to its historical median, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Ten out of 33 analysts downgraded their earnings-per-share estimates for the company by an average of 6.1 percent in the last 30 days, according to StarMine.

China Coal Energy Co Ltd, another company expected to post earnings later in the day, shed 1.5 percent. It is now down 14 percent this year.

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