(Updates to close)
* HSI +0.3 pct, H-share -1 pct, CSI300 -0.2 pct
* HKEx at 6-mth high, HKMA intervenes again to stem HKD
* China Coal up 2 pct after in line Q3 earnings
* Esprit hit after announcing fund raising plans
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares rose to their
highest level for the year on Wednesday, buoyed by expectations
of further capital inflows into the city said to be mainly due
to a third round of quantitative easing by the United States
The Hang Seng Index ended up 0.3 percent at 21,763.8,
its ninth-straight daily gain helping the benchmark to its
highest 2012 close after hitting its highest intra-day level
this year at 21,802.5 in late afternoon trade.
Wednesday's gains were the benchmark's ninth in a row,
equalling a winning streak recorded in June 2010. It last rose
10 sessions in a row in June 2006. The Hang Seng Index is now up
18.1 percent this year after slumping 20 percent in 2011.
In the mainland, the CSI300 Index of the top
Shanghai and Shenzhen listings slipped 0.2 percent, while the
Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent.
"Incoming fund flows are sure to further buoy Hong Kong
markets further, with local developers and Chinese
construction-related plays likely to see further short-term
buying interest," Edward Huang, equity strategist with Haitong
International Securities said.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) intervened in the
currency market for the fourth time since Oct. 19 on Wednesday,
selling a total HK$14.4 billion ($1.85 billion) of Hong Kong
dollars to weaken the territory's currency and protect
its 29-year-old peg to the U.S. dollar.
On Monday, shares of bourse operator Hong Kong Exchange
(HKEx) jumped 2.9 percent to its highest close since
late April. After lagging the broader market for most of the
year, it is now up more than 10 percent this month after surging
13.8 percent in September.
The Hong Kong property sector was also among the
outperformers. Cheung Kong Holdings jumped 4.4
percent, extending its 2012 gains to nearly 30 percent. Sun Hung
Kai Properties rose 3.6 percent.
With valuations of some Chinese growth-sensitive names near
historic lows, market watchers expect further gains leading into
China's 18th Party Congress meeting starting on Nov. 8.
A rise in the HSBC Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers
Index for China to a three-month high of 49.1 in October with
gains in new orders and output provided further signs that the
slowdown in the world's second-largest economy could be
"Talking to my clients, it seems their pessimism on China is
ebbing after recent data," said Huang.
IN FOCUS: EARNINGS OF CHINA CYCLICAL SECTORS
Third-quarter corporate earnings remained a focus. Investors
rewarded in-line results, particularly for battered
growth-sensitive sectors, partly on expectations that a
stabilizing Chinese economy could help improve profitability.
China Coal Energy Co Ltd rose 2.1 percent in Hong
Kong after posting a 22 percent decline in third-quarter net
profit late on Tuesday that were largely in line with
After lagging the broader Hong Kong market for much of this
year, shares of China's second-largest coal producer are now up
almost 11 percent in October after jumping 10 percent in
It is still down 6.2 percent for the year, compared to the
Hang Seng Index's 18.1 percent gain and the China Enterprises
Index's 7.1 percent rise. China Coal currently trades at a 47
percent discount to its historic median 12-month forward
price-to-book value, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Anhui Conch Cement slipped 3.9 percent in Hong
Kong, trimming its 2012 gains to 12.1 percent ahead of its
third-quarter earnings expected later on Wednesday.
Currently trading at 8 percent discount to its historical
12-month forward earnings median, eight out of 28 analysts have
upped their full year earnings-per-share estimates for Anhui
Conch Cement by an average of 0.4 percent in the last 30 days,
according to StarMine.
Esprit Holdings plunged 9.5 percent after it
announced plans to raise $677 million to fund a restructuring of
its key businesses.
Losses on Wednesday brought Esprit's share price to its
lowest since early August, paring gains after the company
appointed an executive from larger rival Inditex as
its new CEO.
(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)