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China shares have best day in two months, buoying Hong Kong gains

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Wed, Mar 20, 2013 09:20 hrs

* HSI +1.0 pct, H-shares +2.4 pct, CSI300 +3.4 pct

* Chinese property bolstered by more details on new curbs

* Country Garden in best gain in 14 mths on 2013 guidance

* China autos jump, govt seen buying more local cars

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, March 20 (Reuters) - China shares jumped on their best day in more than two months on Wednesday, led by gains for the financial and real estate sectors as more clarity about fresh property curbs eased investor uncertainty and helped buoy the Hong Kong market.

The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings spiked 3.4 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.7 percent. It was their best day since Jan. 14.

The Hang Seng Index gained 1 percent, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 2.4 percent. For both, this was their first gain in four days.

Gains in Shanghai came in volume that was the highest in two weeks, but almost 22 percent less than a Feb. 4 peak. Hong Kong turnover improved from Tuesday's low but stayed relatively modest as short selling interest hit 12.2 percent, far above the historical 8 percent average.

"This rebound could go on for the rest of the week, but let's not get too excited because nothing fundamentally has changed yet," said Hong Hao, chief equity strategist for Bank of Communication International Securities.

"Tomorrow's flash PMI should come in better than February's number and could improve sentiment if it points to a better recovery pace," Hong added, referring to the HSBC preliminary survey of manufacturing activity in March in China due for release on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Chinese property developers broadly moved up after the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper detailed Beijing city's plan to adapt more home sales curbs, which was announced by the central government this month.

The report said the curbs may include different capital gains tax rate based on the duration of property ownership and closing a loophole that helps divorcing couples evade the tax on second homes. Single residents may also be restricted to one home, the newspaper added.

This eased uncertainty for investors as it provided more clarity about the specific measures. Chinese property-related stocks have been caught in a jittery spell since the central government announced guidance for more curbs in early March, but left local governments to customize guidelines for their cities and provinces.

China Vanke climbed 2.5 percent in Shenzhen, while Poly Real Estate jumped 4.2 percent in Shanghai. China Resources Land rose 4 percent in Hong Kong, trimming losses on the year to 1.9 percent.

Chinese developer Country Garden surged 9.4 percent in its best daily gain in 14 months, helped by the company's aggressive guidance for 2013. Its 2012 full year earnings, posted on Tuesday, beat expectations.

Country Garden expects sales contracts to be 30 percent higher than last year, by value, and said it has already achieved 20 percent of the higher target. Chinese brokerage CICC upgraded its rating from "hold" to "accumulate" and raised Country Garden's target price by 7 percent.

BANKS, AUTOS SURGE

Chinese banks, particularly mid-sized players, also saw strong gains after the same Chinese newspaper reported that the mainland banking regulator may change the way loan-to-deposit ratios are computed for small and mid-sized lenders, helping them optimise asset allocation and better manage risks.

Belief that the changes could free up capital for loans sent shares of China Minsheng Bank soaring 6.7 percent in Shanghai and 5.7 percent in Hong Kong. Citic Bank spiked by the maximum allowed 10 percent in Shanghai and 5 percent in Hong Kong.

Chinese automakers were also bolstered by an official Xinhua news report that some 10 provinces and other government entities have placed orders for FAW Group's Hongqi H7 cars after the Jilin provincial government ordered some in February.

FAW's Shenzhen shares were up by the maximum 10 percent, as were the Shanghai listings of rivals Great Wall Motor and Guangzhou Automobile Group after the same report said top overseas models are increasingly overlooked for vehicle-purchases by government agencies.



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