HONG KONG, March 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares may start
steady on Friday, ahead of data later in the day that will
likely show China's exports and imports maintained double-digit
growth momentum in the first two months of the year, even amid
A Reuters poll of 22 economists forecast February exports
grew 10.1 percent from a year earlier, while imports likely fell
8.8 percent over the same period. The trade balance is forecast
to show a deficit of $7.8 billion.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index closed flat on the
day and is down 0.5 percent on the week. The China Enterprises
Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong was down
0.4 percent on Thursday and 0.3 percent this week.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.4
percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.1 percent at 0100
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Russian aluminum giant RUSAL has quietly
abandoned plans for a multi-billion dollar aluminum smelter in
Guinea, according to a government source and documents seen by
Reuters on Thursday.
* Ping An Insurance (Group) Co Ltd said its
subsidiary Ping An Bank Co Ltd posted a net profit
of 13.4 billion yuan for 2012, up 31.5 percent from a year ago.
* Shui On Land recorded contracted property sales
of 2.5 billion yuan ($401.92 million) for the first two months
of 2013, up from sales of 473 million yuan for the same period
* Sinotrans Shipping said its net profit for 2012
dropped 78 percent to $20.1 million due to lackluster global
trade and seaborne demand growth amid an oversupply of vessels.