China shares ease after rally, Hong Kong edges up

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 05:20 hrs

* HSI, H-shares index both up 0.2 pct

* CSI300 slips 0.5 percent, Shanghai Comp down 0.4 percent

* Citic Pacific up 3.7 pct after tapping debt market

* Kweichow Moutai shares rebound

By Vikram Subhedar

HONG KONG, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Chinese shares eased from the previous session's one-month high with weak mainland markets cutting into Hong Kong's gains as investors stayed cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting this year.

The Hang Seng index and the China Enteprises index of top locally listed mainland firms were both up 0.2 percent by the midday trading break. Shares of insurer AIA Holdings were up 3.2 percent.

In China, the CSI300 of top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings fell 0.5 percent while the Shanghai Composite was down 0.4 percent.

The U.S. Fed begins a two-day meeting later on Tuesday. It is expected to announce it will buy $45 billion per month of longer-dated Treasuries beginning in January to replace the current Operation Twist programme, which expires on Dec. 31.

Light profit-taking followed Monday's rally in mainland markets after data showed China's banks lent more slowly than expected in November while the pace of total financing eased.

"The loan figures slightly missed consensus so that's triggered a bit of a pull back," said a Hong Kong-based trader at a Chinese brokerage.

However, gains by growth-sensitive stocks showed investors are playing for a modest recovery in the Chinese economy, he added.

Shares of Citic Pacific rose 3.7 percent and were the most actively traded stock on the Hang Seng after the company, mired in financing issues related to its Australian projects, tapped debt markets to raise up to $250 million.

Insurer AIA , the top performing stock after Citic, rose after the U.S. Treasury said it had launched the sale of its remaining stake in American International Group.

On the mainland, the beleaguered white liquor sector got a lift after biggest producer Kweichow Moutai rebutted reports it used additives in its products. Shares of the company, which went untraded on Monday, were up 2.1 percent.

Real estate stocks were weaker in China as investors locked in gains following the recent rally.

Poly Real Estate lost 1.5 percent while China Vanke shed 0.5 percent.

Volumes remained relatively healthy in Shanghai, suggesting retail investors, burnt after nearly three years of weak markets, were getting back into stocks.

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