* HSI +1.1 pct, H-shares +1.4 pct, CSI300 +0.1 pct
* A-shares tepid despite strong China February exports
* Two China coal stocks in Hong Kong up more than 4 pct
* China auto sectors strong on Feb sales numbers
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 8 (Reuters) - Strong Friday gains helped
nudge Hong Kong shares into positive territory for the week,
with growth-sensitive counters buoyed by Wall Street gains and
by hopes that coming Chinese data will further confirm the
economy is picking up.
Markets were little moved by data showed China's exports
dramatically exceeded expectations in February while imports
were much weaker than forecast. Onshore Chinese shares were on
track to close an eventful week on a weak note.
The Hang Seng Index went into the midday break up 1.2
percent at 23,034.1 and was up 0.5 percent on the week. The
China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in
Hong Kong climbed 1.3 percent, leaving it up 0.9 percent for the
In the mainland, the CSI300 of the leading
Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.4 percent,
with the Shanghai Composite Index off 0.2 percent. They
are now down 2.3 percent and 1.7 percent on the week,
"We see economic recovery in China already, so it will be
important to see how that is translated into the earnings
recovery for Chinese companies," said Benjamin Chang, chief
executive officer of LBN Advisors, a firm that manages more than
$400 million in two China funds.
For January and February combined, exports rose 23.6
percent, while imports increased 5 percent, which compared with
expectations for rises of 17.6 percent and 10.0 percent
Shares of China Coal Energy, due to post 2012 full
year corporate earnings next Friday, jumped 4.5 percent in Hong
Kong, tracking strength in the Chinese coal mining sector. Its
larger rival China Shenhua Energy rose 4.4 percent.
Chinese oil giant CNOOC was up 2.7 percent after
U.S. crude gained more than $1 a barrel on Thursday as data
showed an unexpected drop in U.S. unemployment benefits and the
Chinese auto makers were broadly stronger after data from an
industry body suggested the country's passenger car market fared
better than expected in February, a traditional low season
because the Lunar New Year holidays.
Shares of Chinese automaker SAIC Motor rose 2.1
percent to their highest in a week in Shanghai. Late on
Thursday, it reported a 2 percent fall in February auto sales
from a year ago.
Great Wall Motor gained 5.5 percent in Shanghai
and 0.8 percent in Hong Kong after its president told reporters
on the sidelines of China's parliamentary meeting of plans to
invest at least 8 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in research and
development by 2015.
Ping An Bank was among the top drags on the
CSI300 index, diving 3.5 percent in Shenzhen after its net
interest margins slightly disappointed despite full-year 2012
net income that was in line with expectations.
The 21st Century Business Herald newspaper reported on
Friday that the Chinese central bank has ordered banks to
include wealth management products as part of their structured
deposits on their balance sheets from this year.
The Chinese media reported that a senior China Securities
Regulatory Commission official clarified comments about the
resumption of initial public offerings that roiled the A-share
market on Thursday. Friday's reports suggested IPOs could
restart at end-June at the earliest and not end-March, as
appeared to be the case on Thursday.