Wharf (Holdings) Recommendation: Sell Brokerage: Standard Chartered WHARF is one of the territory's largest conglomerates with interests including property, infrastructure, hotels, terminals, tunnel operation and telecommunications. The group posted a 57 per cent drop in net profit for the half-year ending in June, although stripping out exceptional items the bottom line grew by some 12 per cent. A sell recommendation is maintained as the counter is trading at a premium of 10.5 per cent over its rivals' prospective price-earnings ratio for 1996, and a 5.7 per cent premium for 1997. Harbour Centre Development Recommendation: Buy Brokerage: South China Brokerage HARBOUR Centre Development has interests in hotel operations, property investment and investment holding. The group announced a better-than-expected 62 per cent increase in earnings for the six months ending in June after the sale of the loss-making Omni Houston, Omni Mandalay and Omni Chicago. Operating profit should continue to increase as the three hotels in Hong Kong enjoy higher occupancy in view of the expected hotel room shortage. The group is now developing two more hotels in Hong Kong, which will help diversify its income base. Wing Hang Bank Recommendation: Hold Brokerage: Wheelock NatWest WING Hang Bank has operations in corporate banking, retail banking, foreign exchange and treasury services. The bank's strong earnings growth in 1995 was driven by the expansion of its residential mortgage book. Other operating income rose by only 3 per cent. Loan growth outpaced deposit growth and this may restrict further aggressive loan expansion and heighten liquidity concerns. The second half of 1996 is likely to see increased competition in consumer finance and further pressure on lending spreads.