HONG KONG, July 27 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares are likely
to start higher on Friday after the European Central Bank
signalled its resolve to defend the euro zone, raising hopes it
would move to tackle escalating borrowing costs in some of its
Short-covering could help benchmark indices trim losses on
the week. Short selling interest exceeded 10 percent of total
turnover in the first four days of this week, above the 8
percent typically seen.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index ended up nearly 0.1
percent at 18,892.8 points. The China Enterprises Index
of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong finished down 0.1
percent at 9,210.9.
The Hang Seng and the China Enterprises indices are both
down 3.8 percent on the week so far.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 1 percent,
while South Korea's KOSPI had climbed 1.4 percent by
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* AIA Group Ltd, Asia's No. 3 insurer, reported a
28 percent rise in the value of new business in the first half
of the year. Value of new business (VONB), a key metric for
insurance companies that measures the present value of future
business, rose 28 percent to $512 million in the first half,
while VONB margins climbed 6.6 percentage points to 42.6
* Brazil's Vale sought to reassure
investors on Thursday that it is well-positioned to weather a
slowdown in Chinese demand, a day after it posted its worst
earnings results in two years.
* Foxconn International Holdings Ltd, which
assembles handsets for companies such as Nokia Oyj
and Motorola Mobility, said it has appointed Executive Director
Chih Yu Yang as its new chief executive officer with effect from
Thursday. He replaces Cheng Tien Chong, who is stepping down to
spend more time with his family and to improve his health.
* Shares of oil majors in China are set to be a focus after
weaker oil and gas prices took their toll on Royal Dutch Shell's
second-quarter profits, while extra maintenance costs
on high-margin U.S. Gulf production drove earnings below
* The buyer group of MBK Partners' stake in a Taiwan cable TV
unit said on Thursday it is not sure whether the conditions laid
out by local regulators for the $2.4 billion deal are
achievable, though it still aims to close the purchase. Nearly
two years since MBK announced the sale of China Network Systems
(CNS), the National Communications Commission gave a conditional
nod to the buyer group, led by Want Want China, one of
China's biggest rice cake makers and owner of a media
conglomerate in Taiwan.
* Glencore International Plc , one of the
world's largest commodities suppliers, has won approval from
Australian regulators for its C$6.1 billion ($6 billion)
takeover of grain handler Viterra Inc.
* GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd said it would sell
its photovoltaic solar generating facilities in California to a
U.S. renewable energy operator for $266 million, raising
proceeds for investment in future solar projects. For statement
* China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd said it expected to
see a substantial increase in first half net profit mainly due
to an increase in sales revenue. For statement, click: http://www.hkexnews.hk/listedco/listconews/sehk/2012/0726/LTN20120726189.pdf
(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Joseph