* HSI +0.5 pct, H-shares +0.3 pct, CSI300 +0.4 pct
* Investors chase rally in Chinese banking sector
* Ping An shares in HK down in intra-day reversal
* Kweichow Moutai lingers at one-year low
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose on Monday
to linger near 21-month highs, as investors gave further chase
to the rally in the Chinese banking sector at the start of the
last full week of trading before the Lunar New Year holiday.
Data over the weekend showed growth in China's increasingly
important services sector rose for the fourth straight month in
January, though the slim increase added to evidence that the
recovery in the world's second-largest economy remains a modest
The Hang Seng Index went into the trading break up
0.5 percent at 23,844.1 after testing highs since late April
2011 in early trade. The China Enterprises Index of the
top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.2 percent.
In the mainland, the CSI300 of the top Shanghai
and Shenzhen listings gained 0.4 percent, while the Shanghai
Composite Index climbed 0.6 percent. Both indexes have
now bounced 31 and 24 percent, respectively, from a Dec. 3 low.
"In the short term, strength in the A-share market is going
to drive the Hong Kong market," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich
Securities' vice-president of equity sales.
"Most investors still remain very invested in the market,
torn between wanting to take some profit because they sense a
short-term correction coming up and not wanting to miss the next
leg up," Wong added.
Shares of Bank of China climbed 2.1
percent in Hong Kong to its highest since June 2011. Gains
exceeding 44 percent from a Sept. 5 low have now prodded BOC's
relative strength index (RSI) values to its most overbought
level since January 2007.
Smaller rival China Minsheng Bank
jumped another 4.1 percent in Hong Kong and 3.1 percent in
Shanghai to new multi-month highs.
Shares of Ping An Insurance dropped 2
percent in Hong Kong after the China Insurance Regulatory
Commission approved the sale of HSBC's remaining $7.4
billion stake in the mainland's second-largest insurer to a
group controlled by Thailand's richest man.
Ping An's shares in Hong Kong had opened up more than 2
percent, but were trading in Hong Kong down at HK$69.45 in a
sharp intra-day reversal and above the HK$59 per share that HSBC
had priced its sale. Its Shanghai shares rose 1.2 percent.
PROPERTY SECTOR WEAK
Gains in the A-share market were limited by weakness in the
property sector, hurt by a local news report of rising home
prices that fanned worries of fresh tightening measures on home
Poly Real Estate shed 1 percent in Shanghai with
the Shanghai property sub-index an underperformer among
sectors, down 0.5 percent. China Vanke shed 0.8
percent in Shenzhen.
Shares of Chinese premium booze producers were also hit by a
People's Daily commentary urging government departments to stop
using public money during the upcoming Lunar New Year as part of
an official campaign to fight corruption.
Kweichow Moutai fell 2 percent in Shanghai,
testing January 2012 lows. Its shares have slumped more than 31
percent from a July 12 peak.