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Hong Kong shares seen lower, set to end week little changed

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Aug 24, 2012 18:46 hrs

HONG KONG, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start lower on Friday after comments from the St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard crimped expectations for quick stimulus action from the Fed, setting the Hang Seng Index on its way to ending a second week barely hanged.

Corporate earnings will stay a focus point. Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco), China Construction Bank , Haitong Securities and Yanzhou Coal Mining are among companies expected to post first-half earnings later in the day.

On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index closed up 1.2 percent at 20,132.2, bouncing off a three-week low produced on Wednesday and returning above the 20,000 level that has supported the benchmark for all but two sessions in almost three weeks.

The benchmark is now up 0.1 percent this week to date.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 1.3 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 1.2 percent at 0047 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd , the country's second-biggest mobile phone operator, posted a 2 percent fall in quarterly net profit, reflecting earnings pressure across the sector as firms ramp up subsidy spending on handsets.

* PetroChina, the country's dominant oil and gas producer which also owns refineries, posted a forecast-lagging drop of more than a fifth in its quarterly earnings, hit by lower crude oil prices CLc1 and refining and chemicals losses.

* China's Ping An , the world's second-largest life insurer by market value, reported a better than expected 9.4 percent rise in first-half profits on Thursday, boosted by its banking business.

* Bank of China, the country's No.4 lender, posted a 5.1 percent rise in second-quarter net profit on Thursday that was its slowest profit growth in over 3 years as China's banks face up to a more competitive market.

* Bank of China (Hong Kong), a unit of state-run Bank of China, posted a 6.3 percent decline in first half net profit.

* China Minsheng Bank, the country's seventh-largest listed bank, posted a 36.9 percent increase in first half net profit.

* Chinese property developer Shui On Land posted a 5 percent increase in first half net profit.

* Casino operator Wynn Macau, a unit of Wynn Resorts, said its first half profit rose 38 percent to HK$3.33 billion.

* Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa and the European Union have agreed the basic principles of a competition concession that would allow Hutchison's Austrian telecoms unit to take over Orange Austria, Hutchison said. (Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Eric Meijer)




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