Hong Kong shares flat ahead of US, China data
HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares were little changed Friday morning as investors awaited key data from the world's two largest economies.
The Hang Seng Index added less than 0.1% to reach 26,364.21 after changing direction a few times. The gauge is still up more than 4% this week after capping its best four-day rally in a year on Thursday.
China Overseas Land & Investment jumped 5.3% and China Resources Land climbed 3.1% in the morning session to pace gains by mainland developers. PetroChina climbed 1% after global crude prices rose for a fourth session overnight. Apple-supplier AAC Technologies Holdings was the top loser on the 50-stock gauge as it fell 2.1%, poised for its first drop in eight sessions. Geely Automobile Holdings declined 1.2% from a record high.
The U.S. is due to report inflation data later on Friday, a key data point that could influence Federal Reserve decisions on policy tightening, after markets broadly interpreted Chair Janet Yellen's two-day testimony before U.S. lawmakers as dovish. China will on Monday report monthly data on retail sales, fixed asset investment and industrial output as well as second-quarter gross domestic product figures. The Asian country's economy likely grew 6.8% last quarter, slowing from a 6.9% expansion in the three months ended March 31, according to a survey of China economists by Nikkei Asian Review.
The Chinese data "will reinforce the consumption-driven expansion," Rob Carnell, head of research at ING Asia wrote in a note, adding he expects the contribution to GDP growth from investment to weaken. "We definitely believe that China is a consumption story, with investment as a booster to growth only when needed."
The Shanghai Composite fell 0.2% on Friday morning while the yuan traded onshore was little changed at 6.7815 against the dollar. The People's Bank of China's money-market operations this week will result in a net drainage of 70 billion yuan ($10.4 billion) in cash, as it injected less money via reverse repo contracts than what it pulled out from maturing securities, Reuters reported, citing traders.
Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings on Friday affirmed its A+ rating on China's sovereign debt with a stable outlook, more than a month after Moody's Investors Service downgraded its own rating to A1 from Aa3.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index of regional companies was up 0.3% Friday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high overnight.
China Vanke rose 2.4% in Hong Kong in the morning. During the midday break, the developer requested a trading halt, pending the release of inside information.
China's HNA Infrastructure slipped 0.3% after saying it had completed the acquisition of a 30% stake in Rio de Janeiro's international airport from Brazil's Odebrecht for $19 million.
Genting Hong Kong rose 1.3% after saying it sold 6.6 million shares in Australia's Star Entertainment Group on the market and had agreed to sell its remaining 46.4 million shares to third-party buyers. The company, a unit of Malaysia's Genting, expects a gain of $67.5 million from the disposal. Star Entertainment gained 3.4% in Sydney.
China Railway Construction advanced 1.3% after saying its contracts in the first half surged 47% to 551.7 billion yuan.
Hong Kong-listed depository receipts of Japan's Fast Retailing, owner of clothing chain Uniqlo, tumbled 4.6%, after the company reported lower-than-expected March to May operating profits of 49.9 billion yen ($440.1 million). Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a profit of 52.85 billion yen.
Air China added 1.5% after saying late Thursday that its passenger count rose 1.8% in June from a year earlier. China Eastern Airlines fell 0.7%. The airline reported a 9.4% increase in passengers carried last month.
Hong Kong Television Network rose 11% after saying its unit Hong Kong Mobile Television Network had received approval from the Hong Kong Communications Authority to use digital video broadcasting.
China Candy Holdings plunged 53% to 25 Hong Kong cents after saying a conditional cash offer by Ever Maple Flavors and Fragrances Holdings for 35.65 Hong Kong cents a share had lapsed and would not be extended or revised, as conditions of the offer were not satisfied. Ever Maple's bid to buy the company, announced in May, was conditional upon it holding more than 50% of the voting rights.
-- Suzannah Benjamin and V. Phani Kumar