HONG KONG, May 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may start
steady on Wednesday as investors brace for China trade data at
0200 GMT for the latest gauge of the health of the region's
biggest economy after a recent series of soft data raised
concerns about the growth outlook.
The median forecast of economists polled by Reuters showed
China's exports likely grew 10.3 percent in April from a year
ago, up from an increase of 10 percent in March, helped by a
low-base comparison the year before. Imports were seen rising
13.9 percent last month, down from a rise of 14.1 percent in
Hong Kong Exchange (HKEx), AAC Tech and
Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation Ltd
are due to post first quarter net profit later in the day.
On Tuesday, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.6 percent to
23,047.1 points, stymied by chart resistance at the March 11
closing high at about 23,090.8. The China Enterprises Index
of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong climbed 1
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.5
percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was flat at 0054 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Dairy products maker China Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd
said on Wednesday it planned to buy 26.92 percent of China
Modern Dairy Holdings Ltd for HK$3.18 billion ($409.78
million) to secure a stable, long-term premium milk supply.
* Esprit Holdings Ltd said it would record a
substantial second-half loss due to soaring costs related to
store closures and acquisitions in China.
* HSBC aims to keep the pressure on costs
after first-quarter earnings nearly doubled due to the bank's
three-year efficiency drive and a halving in bad debts charges.
* Telecom Italia's board is likely to put off
making a decision this week on whether to open formal merger
talks with Hutchison Whampoa, as key shareholders are
divided on the issue, sources with knowledge of the situation
* Husky Energy Inc, Canada's No. 3 integrated oil
company, said on Tuesday its $6.5 billion Liwan Gas Project in
the South China Sea was on track to start production in late
2013 to early 2014. Liwan 3-1 is the largest ever natural gas
discovery offshore China and Husky has been jointly developing
the field in partnership with CNOOC.
* China's Huabei Petrochemical Company, a subsidiary of oil
major PetroChina, is expected to double its refining
capacity by the end of 2014, two years behind its original plan,
industry officials said on Tuesday.
* Vale SA , the world's biggest iron ore
miner, hopes to boost sales to the U.S. steel industry, which
has become more competitive as the country's shale gas boom has
lowered costs, the Brazilian miner's CEO said on Tuesday.