Hong Kong, China shares eke out gains in thin trade; HSBC weak

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 12, 2012 05:40 hrs

* HSI, H-shares index both up 0.2 pct, turnover muted

* CSI300 up 0.2 pct, Shanghai Comp up 0.1 pct

* HSBC sheds 0.8 percent on UK tax probe report

By Vikram Subhedar

HONG KONG, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose slightly after last week's slump, buoyed by gains in property developers, although worries about the U.S. fiscal cliff kept trading activity muted.

Data released on Monday showed new loans at Chinese banks in October came in below expectations, putting pressure on shares of the big banks, although total social financing - a broader gauge of monetary conditions in the economy - rose.

By the midday trading break on Monday, the Hang Seng index was up 0.2 percent at 21,421.4 while the China Enterprises index rose 0.3 percent.

In China, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen listings rose 0.2 percent while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.1 percent.

"With the U.S. presidential election now out of the way, the market is now keeping an eye on how the U.S. Congress is going to handle the threat of a looming 'fiscal cliff'," said Angus To, an analyst at ICBC International in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong stocks shed more than 3 percent last week despite economic data from China which pointed to a recovery as investors locked in profits after a rally that had lifted the Hang Seng to a 15-month high earlier this month.

China's ruling Communist Party is in the midst of its once-in-a-decade leadership transition where leaders have stressed the need for financial and economic reform.

The 18th National Congress has so far signaled a continuation of current policies and therefore done little to surprise the market, said To.

Developers were the best performing sector in Hong Kong with a sub-index of property shares up 0.7 percent. China Overseas Land rose 1.7 percent while local bellwether Cheung Kong Holdings was up 0.9 percent.

Those gains helped offset weakness in index heavyweight HSBC Holdings, which fell 0.8 percent as its share price remained on the backfoot following a report that the bank was at the centre of an investigation by British tax authorities.

HSBC shares, which gained nearly 14 percent in the prior two months, are down 3.4 percent this month.

Financials were also weak in mainland markets following the new loans data, with shares of China's biggest banks underperforming the broader market.

Bank of China fell 0.7 percent while Industrial & Commerical Bank of China, the world's most valuable bank, shed 0.3 percent.

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