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Hong Kong shares may start higher, Q1 earnings in focus

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Wed, Apr 24, 2013 00:50 hrs

HONG KONG, April 24 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start slightly higher on Wednesday, tracking Wall Street gains following positive quarterly earnings reports from companies such as Apple Inc and Yum Brands.

China Minsheng Bank, China Pacific Insurance and Haitong Securities are among several Hong Kong-listed companies due to post their first quarter results later in the day.

On Tuesday, the Hang Seng Index ended down 1.1 percent at 21,806.6. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 1.6 percent, their worst day since April 15.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.4 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.4 percent at 0028 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Jiangxi Copper Company Ltd, China's top refined copper producer, may be forced to cut output from as early as May as falling metals prices crimp the flow of scrap imports to China, a senior executive of the company said.

* Apple Inc bowed to investors' demands to share more of its $145 billion cash pile, while reporting better-than-expected second quarter revenue of $43.6 billion, beating Wall Street's average forecast for $42.3 billion but posting its first quarterly profit decline in more than a decade. The company forecasted revenue of $33.5 billion to $35.5 billion this quarter, lagging Wall Street's average prediction of $38.2 billion.

* KFC parent Yum Brands Inc on Tuesday reported that quarterly profit fell less than Wall Street expected, despite a sharp drop in sales in its top China market, sending the company's shares up nearly 6 percent.

* France has opened a probe into whether British bank HSBC offered illicit products to help French clients avoid tax in Switzerland, the Paris prosecutors' office said on Tuesday.

* HSBC is cutting 1,149 jobs in Britain in another round of redundancies to save money and slim down Europe's biggest bank. The cuts are part of a three-year revival plan designed by Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver to reduce costs, raise returns and focus on profitable areas.

* Huaneng Power said its first quarter net profit jumped 178 percent from a year earlier.

* Haitong Securities said the Shanghai bureau of the China Securities Regulatory Commission has notified the company that it has failed to submit a series of innovative products for regulatory approval. Haitong said it has investigated the issue and took disciplinary action against relevant personnel.

* China Mengniu Diary Co Ltd confirmed recent market rumours that the company is in informal talks with an unnamed company about possible acquisitions of certain assets, but stressed talks are very preliminary.

* Guoco Group shares will resume trading on Wednesday. The company said in a statement that GuoLine Overseas Ltd is proposing to offer HK$88 for every share, which could be increased to HK$100 per share if privatisation conditions are subsequently met or waived.(Reporting by Clement Tan; Editing by Eric Meijer)




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