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Hong Kong shares set for 7th weekly gain

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Sat, Oct 20, 2012 18:40 hrs

HONG KONG, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares could start slightly higher on Friday, adding to their seventh-straight weekly rise as investors consolidate strong gains this week ahead of the third-quarter earnings reporting season starting on Monday.

Tencent Holdings could come under some pressure after a 9 percent plunge in the shares of Google Inc after the world's No. 1 Internet search engine posted underwhelming third-quarter earnings.

On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent to 21,518.7, its highest close since March 2 and equalling a six-day winning streak recorded a year ago. It last gained seven days in a row in Dec 2010 and January 2011.

The benchmark is now just 1.1 percent shy of the 2012 intra-day high at 21,760.3, recorded on Feb. 20. It is now up 1.8 percent for the week, set for its best weekly showing in five ahead of third-quarter earnings that start next week with the growth-sensitive sectors.

Combined profits of Chinese state-owned firms fell 11.4 percent in the first nine months of 2012 from a year earlier, easing from an annual fall of 12.8 percent in the January-August period, the Ministry of Finance said after markets closed on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.2 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.1 percent at 0038 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* SouthGobi Resources Ltd announced departure of Chief Operating Officer Curtis Church and Chief Operating Officer Ross Tromans will assume the duties.

* MGM China said it has received approval to build its $2.5 billion dollar casino project in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, the world's biggest gambling market. The Macau casino unit of U.S. gambling giant MGM Resorts said it will pay the Macau government 450 million patacas ($56.4 million) as an initial instalment to lease the land for the new project.

* Hong Kong's Hutchison 3G, a unit of Hutchison Whampoa , will need to sell assets such as spectrum to soothe regulatory worries about its planned 1.3 billion euro buy of France Telecom's Orange Austria, the EU's antitrust chief said on Thursday.

* A Hong Kong-based firm has agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle charges of trading on inside knowledge of CNOOC Ltd's bid for Nexen Inc, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Thursday.

* Shares of HKEx, Asia's largest bourse operator, may come under some pressure after regional competitor Singapore Exchange Ltd reported a 15 percent drop in quarterly net profit as stock market volumes fell due to global economic uncertainties. (Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Eric Meijer)




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