* HSI +0.7 pct, H-shares +0.6 pct, CSI300 -0.8 pct
* CSI300, Shanghai Comp in third-straight monthly loss
* HK has second-best week in 2013, but turnover very weak
* BYD has best day in 17 months on earnings turnaround
* China Southern Airlines dives after Q1 earnings miss
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, April 26 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose to
their highest since mid-March on Friday but in weak turnover, as
a recovery in physical commodity prices helped magnify
earnings-driven strength in Chinese companies showing signs of a
Mainland China shares ended April with a whimper, with
growth-sensitive counters from railway to shipbuilders leading
index losses ahead of a three-day Labour Day holiday next week.
Trading will resume on May 2.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen
A-share listings slid 0.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index
shed 1 percent to 2,177.9, its lowest closing level
since Christmas Eve and barely above its 200-day moving average
- a technical level that it has tested about six times in April.
They each suffered a third-straight monthly loss, sliding
1.9 and 2.6 percent in April, respectively. Both have unwound
more than 10 percent from 2013 peaks in early February and are
now down 3 and 4 percent for the year, respectively.
On Friday, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 percent to
22,547.7, its highest close since March 14. It rose 2.4 percent
this week and has now spiked 4.8 percent from a five-month low
on April 18.
The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese
listings in Hong Kong rose 0.6 percent on the day and 2.3
percent on the week. This was the best week for both Hong Kong
indexes since the week that ended Jan. 4.
But gains in Hong Kong came in weak turnover this week,
which was some 13 percent below this year's average, on a weekly
basis. Shanghai volumes in April were its weakest since
"Volumes are still low, but the earnings season is showing
some individual companies are starting to show they are not
doing too badly, so this might be a good time for value
investors to start accumulating some positions," said Larry
Jiang, chief strategist at Guotai Junan International
The Warren Buffett-backed Chinese automaker BYD Co Ltd
surged 12.2 percent in its best day in 17
months in Hong Kong after reporting that quarterly profit
tripled and forecasting a surge in first half profit. Its
Shenzhen listing rose 3.1 percent.
Most other Chinese automakers have outperformed this week on
improved expectations at the ongoing Shanghai Auto Show,
including Great Wall Motor , which reported
quarterly results that were broadly in line with expectations.
But investors took that as a sign to take some profit,
trimming strong weekly gains after UBS downgraded their view on
Great Wall Motor's H-share listing from "neutral" to "sell,"
believing earnings growth expectations from its new models are
Great Wall shed 2.3 percent in Hong Kong, trimming gains on
the week to 15.8 percent. Its Shanghai listing skidded 2.7
percent on the day.
Another company that could see more investor's interest
following robust quarterly earnings is China Unicom
after China's second-largest mobile operator posted an 89
percent rise in net profit for the January-March period due to a
rising number of subscribers spending more on data.
Its shares in Hong Kong climbed 2.6 percent on Friday to
extend a recent recovery of its share price to close at its
highest since March 8.
Bank of China rose 1.4 percent after the country's
fourth-largest lender posted quarterly net profit that grew 8
percent, broadly in line with expectations.
The bank said its non-performing loan ratio was 0.91
percent, down from 0.95 percent at the end of last year. Its net
interest margin widened to 2.22 percent from 2.15 percent a year
ago, setting the stage for the earnings of its "Big Four"
Chinese banking peers later in the day
In Hong Kong, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
rose 0.7 percent, while China Construction Bank
added 0.8 percent ahead of quarterly reports after
market close on Friday.
China Southern Airlines slid 4 percent in its
worst loss in three weeks in Hong Kong after its quarterly net
profit slumped a worse-than-expected 82 percent. Friday's losses
trimmed its 2013 gains to 4.3 percent.
China Southern is now trading at a 37 percent discount to
its forward 12-month earnings multiple, according to Thomson
Reuters StarMine. This is much bigger than Air China's 27
percent discount, but smaller than China Eastern Airlines'
47 percent discount.