* HSI +0.6 pct, H-shares +1 pct, CSI300 +0.4 pct
* Zoomlion surges on China excavator sales
* Esprit dives after profit warning, adds to HSI exclusion
* China Modern Diary slides after Mengniu raises stake
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, May 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares were headed
for a fourth-straight gain on Wednesday, while onshore China
markets also extended a similar winning streak after robust
Chinese April trade data helped extend a rally in
But indexes in both markets went into the midday break off
the day's highs, with volumes seeing a small rise. With
Beijing having moved to quell inflows last week, some in the
market were sceptical about the official import and export
figures for April reflecting real demand.
At midday, the Hang Seng Index was up 0.6 percent at
23,191.1, after earlier nearing highs of March 12, when it hit a
peak of 23,262. The China Enterprises Index of the top
Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 1 percent. If gains hold,
this would be both index's fourth-straight daily gain.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen
A-share listings rose 0.4 percent, while the Shanghai Composite
Index inched up 0.3 percent after both earlier tested
their highest since end-March.
"There's definitely some scepticism on the trade data, but
the beat is helping to magnify the gains for some of the more
down-trodden cyclical stocks," said Wang Ao-chao, UOB Kay Hian's
Shanghai-based head of research.
"Investors are just rotating into these beta names, but
there's nothing to suggest much has fundamentally changed too
much. I would actually also advise clients to buy into some of
the quality defensives on weakness," Wang added.
Zoomlion Heavy Industry is set for its best day in
five months in Hong Kong, surging 6.2 percent after the China
Construction Machinery Association said excavator monthly sales
in the mainland posted year-on-year growth in April for the
first time in two years.
Gains so far on Wednesday helped Zoomlion cut 2013 losses to
27.5 percent, compared to the 1.8 percent slide on the H-share
index. Its Shenzhen listing rose 1 percent, while
larger rival Sany Heavy Industry climbed 1.7 percent
China Modern Diary is headed for its worst daily
loss in 17 months, diving 7.2 percent after China Mengniu Diary
purchased a HK$3.18 billion ($409.78 million) stake
from KKR-backed Advanced Dairy SPA and CDH-backed Crystal Dairy
SPA at HK$2.45 per share, a 12.2 percent discount from its
Tuesday closing price.
The purchase raised Mengniu's stake in China Modern to 28
percent. Mengniu shares in Hong Kong were up 0.7 percent.
EARNINGS, EARNINGS, EARNINGS
Esprit Holdings is headed for its worst day in
almost seven months, tumbling 5.7 percent after it warned of
substantial losses in the second half due to soaring costs
related to store closures and acquisitions in China.
The profit warning is adding to chatter of its possible
exclusion from the Hang Seng Index, when the index manager
releases its quarterly review after markets close this Friday.
HSBC rose 1.5 percent after first-quarter
earnings nearly doubled due to the bank's three-year efficiency
drive and a halving in bad debt charges.
Hong Kong Exchange slipped 0.6 percent from
Tuesday's eight-month closing high ahead of its quarterly
At the midday break, the largest exchange operator in Asia
posted net profit amounting to HK$1.2 billion ($154.64 million)
in the first quarter, surpassing expectations for HK$932