Market Opener: Sasa, Chow Sang Sang in focus as Hong Kong pledges to limit mainland visitors
The share prices of cosmetics distributor Sasa, Bonjour Holdings (0653.HK) and jewellery-makers such as Chow Sang Sang and Chow Tai Fook (1929.HK) have risen sharply this month after Shenzhen said it would relax travel restrictions to allow 4.1 million non-permanent residents to make multiple visits to Hong Kong from Saturday without returning to their home provinces.
Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung said after the market close on Tuesday that the government would keep the number of mainland visitors to the city "under control".
In addition, mainland steelmakers, coal-producers and machinery-makers could face downward pressure after the official Economic Information Daily cited China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as saying that the three industries have the most severe corporate debt problem.
Turnover of the broader market could be subdued, with investors sidelined ahead of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's speech to central bankers at their annual get-together in Jackson Hole this Friday to seek further hints on the possibility of a new round of qualitative easing in the US.
Overnight, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was flat at 1,407. In London, the FTSE-100 Index was also flat at 5,775. The benchmark Hang Sang Index struggled to eke out a gain on Tuesday, closing up 13.13 points, or 0.07 percent, at 19,811.80.
On Wednesday, earnings are likely to remain the major focus for investors. China Agri-Industries Holdings (0606.HK), CITIC Bank (0998.HK), Melco International Development (0200.HK) are among a batch of companies due to report interim results later in the day.
-- Hong Kong-based property developer Kowloon Development (0034.HK) said net profit grew to HK$872 million from HK$830 million a year earlier. Overall sentiment in Hong Kong, mainland and Macau's residential property markets has improved since the second quarter, it said.
-- Air China (0753.HK), the nation's biggest leading airline, said profit slumped 77 percent from a year earlier to 944.5 million yuan due to higher fuel costs and increased foreign exchange losses, although its results still beat most earlier market estimates.
-- Top insurer China Life (2628.HK) said overnight that interim net profit was 9.6 billion yuan, down 25.7 per cent year-on-year, but roughly in line with most market estimates.