HONG KONG: Falls in PetroChina and Sinopec shares hurt Hong Kong and mainland markets early Friday, as investors took profit on their outsized gains the previous day as scepticism lingers on how much China's state-owned enterprises will be reformed.
Losses on the day threaten to erase weekly gains for Hong Kong markets while flattening A-share indexes, with doubts growing about durability about their rebound from January troughs with the latest macroeconomic indicator flashing amber.
At midday, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 1 percent, while the CSI300 of the largest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings shed 0.8 percent.
On the week, the first was up 0.1 percent and the second down 1.2 percent.
The Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 percent to 22,486.2 points, while the China Enterprises Index slipped 0.2 percent. On the week, they were up 0.8 and 0.2 percent, respectively.
China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) sank 1.7 percent in Shanghai and 1.2 percent in Hong Kong.
PetroChina tumbled more than 3 percent in Shanghai and 1 percent in Hong Kong.
Sinopec shares had jumped about 10 percent in both markets on Thursday as investors cheered plans to sell up to 30 percent of its retail oil business to private investors in a move seen as the first signs of reform at a state-owned enterprise.
"People are coming back to their senses on Sinopec," said Hong Hao, chief strategist at Bank of Communication International.
"The move to spin off its marketing arm is positive for margins, but probably not as significant as people think it could be for the company."
"It's a good signal that Beijing sent about its desire to do something about state-owned enterprises, but it's a little too early to get too carried away about ownership reform," Hong added.
PetroChina had gained 2.5 percent in Hong Kong and 4.7 percent in Shanghai on Thursday.
On Friday, Lenovo Group was another big index drag, diving 3 percent after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch became the latest brokerage to downgrade it on concerns about the long turnaround period after its Motorola Mobility purchase.
Tencent Holdings rebounded 2.3 percent after Thursday's 3.1 percent loss after Facebook announced its purchase of mobile messaging startup WhatsApp.
Shunfeng Photovoltaic soared nearly 13 percent after the official Shanghai Securities News reported on Friday that China's central bank is urging banks to step up loan support to agricultural development, consumer technologies, solar energy producers and makers of motor vehicles powered by alternative energy sources.
EARNINGS IN FOCUS
AIA Group shares sank 1.7 percent after reporting a 7 percent fall in 2013 net profit to $2.82 billion, below market expectations for $2.91 billion.
Weakness in the region's equity markets and currencies were cited by Asia's No. 3 insurer by market value.
Citic Pacific shares climbed 1.7 percent after posting a 9 percent growth in 2013 net profit, while declaring a final dividend of HK$0.25 per share.
Parkson Retail shares tanked 6.5 percent after posting a worse-than-expected 58.4 percent decline in 2013 net profit and announcing the resignation of its chief executive officer. (Reuters)