Feb 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may edge higher at the
open on Friday as investors wait on China's January trade and
inflation data, which will round out the last day of trading
before the Lunar New Year holiday.
China's economic rebound should show signs of strengthening
on Friday when the first hard economic numbers for 2012 are
released, although distortions caused by the Lunar New Year
holiday will make it difficult to gauge momentum.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index ended down 0.4
percent at 23,177 points, but above Tuesday's one-month closing
low at 23,148.5. The China Enterprises Index of the top
Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 1.4 percent.
The Hang Seng Index is now down 2.3 percent on the week,
currently its worst showing since November. The China
Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong
Kong is down 4.4 percent this week so far, its worst since July.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.8
percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.1 percent at
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Russia's United Company RUSAL Plc, the world's
top aluminium producer, said on Friday that it forecast 2013
global aluminium demand to rise 6 percent to 50 million tonnes.
RUSAL's aluminium output rose 1 percent in 2012 to 4.17 million
tonnes, while alumina production fell 8 percent to 7.48 million
* Canadian coal miner SouthGobi Resources Ltd
said Mongolia's anti-corruption authority has imposed
restrictions on the company's Mongolian unit, including its
local bank accounts, as it investigates asset sales.
* HSBC will close the accounts of some
customers in the Middle East and North Africa with links to
sanction-targeted nations, the bank said on Thursday, as the
lender looks to cut the heavy compliance costs associated with
* Mid-sized lender China Minsheng Bank
has received regulatory approval to issue 20 billion yuan ($3.21
billion) in six-year convertible bonds, a company official said
* Birmingham International Holdings Ltd said it
has been formally approached by a sports management company
which has indicated it can lead a consortium to consider the
purchase of the Birmingham City Football Club Plc. The company's
lawyers are currently in contact with the interested party to
clarify the approach.
* Hang Lung Group Ltd and Hang Lung Properties Ltd
said they have acquired land use rights to a piece of
land for commercial property development in China's Wuhan for
3.3 billion yuan.
* Shui On Land Ltd said its sales target for
residential properties in 2013 would be about 9 billion yuan and
the sales target for en bloc commercial properties would be 2
* Agile Property Holdings Ltd said its contracted
sales for January amounted to 2.48 billion yuan.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Richard