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
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
* 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
* 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
* 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