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Hong Kong shares may extend week's gains

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Apr 26, 2013 01:00 hrs

HONG KONG, April 26 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could extend this week's gains on Friday, tracking a Wall Street rise after surprisingly resilient U.S. labour data and as physical commodity prices recovered further after their recent selloff.

Quarterly corporate earnings will stay in focus, with a flurry of Chinese financial companies due to report later in the day, including "Big Four" banks Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank.

The Hang Seng Index ended up 1 percent at 22,401.2 on Thursday, its highest close since March 27. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 1.3 percent. On the week, they are now each up 1.8 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.1 percent while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.1 percent at 0027 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* China will speed up the establishment of a regulatory system for local government debt financing while strengthening prevention of potential financial risks, state TV reported a meeting of the country's top decision-making body, the politburo, as announcing on Thursday.

* Chinese bond market authorities will suspend new account openings by non-bank financial institutions, the latest move in a growing crackdown on self-dealing in China's fast-growing bond market, multiple sources told Reuters on Thursday.

* Bank of China , the country's No.4 lender, reported earnings in line with expectations on Thursday, as income from fees and commissions helped to offset weaker loan growth in a slowing economy.

* China's Baoshan Iron & Steel (Baosteel), the country's largest listed steelmaker, posted a 33 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, boosted by improving demand for steel.

* China Life Insurance Co Ltd , the world's biggest insurer by market value, posted a 79.1 percent increase in its first-quarter net profit, boosted by an increase in investment yield and a decrease in impairment losses.

* AIA Group Ltd, Asia's No. 3 insurer, posted a 25 percent increase in the value of its new business in the first quarter of 2013.

* PetroChina , China's dominant oil and gas producer, reported an 8 percent fall in first-quarter profit, weighed down by lower realised crude prices and further losses at its natural gas import business.

* Sinopec Corp, Asia's largest refiner, posted a 25 percent rise in first-quarter profit as improved refining margins offset lower profits from exploration and production.

* Baidu Inc, China's largest search engine, posted its slowest profit growth in more than four years, missing Wall Street targets as higher traffic acquisition costs ate into profit margins and the company consolidated results from its money-losing online video unit.

* Wynn Resorts Ltd, parent of Wynn Macau, posted a first-quarter profit that handily beat Wall Street expectations as operating margins got a boost from a drop in general and administrative expenses and entertainment and retail costs.

* SAIC Motor Corp, China's largest automaker by sales, reported an 11 percent rise in first-quarter earnings, on solid vehicle sales amid a recovering economy.

* Chinese carmaker BYD Co Ltd , backed by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett, sees first-half earnings up as much as 30 times on strong car sales and a big contribution from its cell phone unit.

* Air China Ltd, Asia's second-largest airline by market value, posted a 4 percent rise in first-quarter net profit after the market close on Thursday.

* China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd , the country's second-biggest mobile phone 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.




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