Hong Kong shares seen rising, China data in focus
HONG KONG, March 9 (Reuters) - Shares on the Hong Kong market are expected to start higher on Friday, tracking Wall Street gains as investors await a slew of data later in the day that could shed fresh light on the extent of the slowdown in the Chinese economy.
Also supporting sentiment, the good take-up of the Greek government bond swap offer could alleviate concerns about the debt problems in the euro zone.
The China Enterprises Index of top mainland listings in Hong Kong rose 1.8 percent on Thursday while the broader Hang Seng Index ended up 1.3 percent at 20,900.7, snapping a three-day run of losses.
Both indices appear poised for their second weekly loss in three weeks. Investors took profits in the outperformers this year ahead of corporate earnings and key data, driving the Hang Seng Index down 3.1 percent this week so far, while the China Enterprises index has lost 4.9 percent.
The scale of the economic slowdown in China will become clearer on Friday with data expected to show steady consumer spending as factory output, fixed-asset investment and inflation cool to leave a pro-growth policy bias intact.
Consumer and producer price data are due at 0130 GMT, with fixed-asset investment, industrial output and retail sales numbers scheduled for publication at 0530 GMT.
China Yurun Food Group Ltd and China Resources Land Ltd are among a slew of companies expected to post earnings reports on Friday.
On Thursday, short selling interest slumped to its lowest since Dec. 22, accounting for 6.7 percent of total turnover on the Hong Kong main board, which ended a lackluster day by
marking a decline for a second straight session.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei average rose 1.1 percent to 9,876 on Friday, while the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.3 percent at 2,005.4 at 0036 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Shares of Coach Inc rose as much as 7 percent to their highest in more than 10 years after the company said it was seeing strong business in China as well as in its domestic
market. Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer &
Retail Conference, Lew Frankfort, chief executive officer of the upscale leather goods maker, said business was growing by double digits in North America as it focused on gaining a greater share of the women's luxury market in that region.
* Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (Chalco) ,the country's largest aluminium producer, plans to issue new shares to raise up to 8 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) to fund development and expansion projects.
* China's Yanzhou Coal Mining overcame a key hurdle on Thursday in the takeover of Australia's Gloucester Coal and was granted an additional 12 months to bring down its stake in its Australian unit to less than 70 percent. Australian federal treasurer Wayne Swan approved a deal between Yanzhou's unit Yancoal and Gloucester Coal with some
conditions and cited global market volatility as the reason for giving the Chinese firm until the end of 2013 to cut its stake.
* Hong Kong property developer and landlord Hysan Development Co Ltd said on Thursday its chief executive Gerry Yim will resign effective May 14 and the
founding Lee family is resuming active management of the company. Irene Lee Yun-Lien, currently non-executive chairman of the board, is assuming an executive role with the company immediately, it said.
* Wynn Macau Ltd's parent Wynn Resorts Ltd , locked in a legal battle with one-time largest shareholder Kazuo Okada, won the latest round when a Nevada judge ruled on Thursday that the casino company must turn over just two pages of the documents that Okada had requested.
* Lenovo Group Ltd is recalling about 50,500 ThinkCentre desktop computers due to a fire hazard.
* Hong Kong subway operator MTR Corp posted a 22 percent rise in 2011 net profit to HK$14.7 billion, beating the consensus forecast of HK$9.87 billion.
* Kingway Brewery Holdings Ltd, whose brewery assets have attracted bidding interest from global and local players, posted a 4.2 percent decline in 2011 profit to HK$34.8
million on Thursday due to higher costs, with beer sales volume up 1 percent.
> Wall St erases week's losses on Greek hopes
> Euro rises on signs of success for Greek debt swap
> Treasury prices fall as support for Greek deal grows
> Gold rises 1 pct on economic optimism, Greek debt
> Oil gains a second day on Greek hopes, Iran
(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Michael Watson)