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REFILE-Hong Kong shares close down 0.3 pct, Chinese financials weigh

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 09:00 hrs

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares fell on Thursday as investors booked profits on mainland financials after China's central bank signalled it would shift its focus back to tackling inflation from supporting growth.

The Hang Seng Index ended down 0.3 percent at 23,177 points, holding above Tuesday's one-month closing low of 23,104.3. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong shed 1.4 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended down 0.7 percent at 2,418.5, its first loss in nine days. The CSI300 of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings shed 0.6 percent from Wednesday's 17-month closing high.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* China needs to pay special attention to consumer prices, the central bank said on Wednesday in its fourth-quarter monetary policy report, a turnaround from its previous focus of supporting economic growth.

* China Minsheng Bank tumbled 5.2 percent. As of Wednesday, Minsheng shares had more than doubled from lows in September as signs of a recovering Chinese economy and low valuations spurred interest in the bank's shares.

* Shares of Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco) fell 2.8 percent after the index manager said late on Wednesday that Lenovo Group will take its place as a Hang Seng Index component from March 4. Lenovo's shares jumped 5.2 percent.

DAY AHEAD:

* China is expected to post January inflation and trade data on Friday. China's January export growth was likely its strongest in 11 months, though a 17 percent year-on-year surge forecast in a Reuters poll may owe as much to trade cycles and Lunar New Year holiday base effects as a recovery in foreign demand.

* A median forecast of 17 economists showed inflation running at 2.0 percent in January, ahead of the Lunar New Year, China's most important holiday. That's down from a seven-month high of 2.5 percent in December, when a cold snap drove up vegetable prices.




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