Hong Kong Shares May Start Higher, Merchants Bank In Focus After Raising

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Hong Kong shares may start modestly higher on Thursday, tracking Wall Street gains as investors mark time ahead of the U.S. labour market data at the end of the week.

A man talks on mobile phone in front of panel displaying Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong

Hong Kong shares may start modestly higher on Thursday, tracking Wall Street gains as investors mark time ahead of the U.S. labour market data at the end of the week.

China Merchants Bank , the country's sixth-largest lender, completed a long-planned share offering on Wednesday, raising 27.5 billion yuan ($4.49 billion) from its Shanghai shareholders to meet new capital adequacy requirements.

China's local government debt is under control but there are relatively big problems in some areas, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said in comments published on Wednesday, the latest comments on an issue that has raised concern among investors.

On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index ended down 0.3 percent at 22,326.2 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong slipped 0.2 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia at 0029 GMT, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.3 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.4 percent.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Volvo Cars, wholly owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said on Wednesday it aimed to break even this year, banking on a pick-up in China and cost cuts to turn around a first-half loss.

* Apple Inc has invited Chinese journalists to an event in Beijing on Sept. 11, just hours after it is widely expected to unveil its newest iPhone models in the United States, Chinese media reported on Wednesday. It could fuel speculation that it may announce a long-awaited deal with China Mobile Ltd, which is the world's biggest mobile phone company by customers and the only one of China's big carriers that does not have an agreement with Apple.

* Consumer food and beverage products processor China Green (Holdings) Ltd said it would sell new shares representing 20.4 percent of its enlarged share capital to Partner Shanghai Ltd at HK$1.34 each, or a 48.9 percent premium to the previous close, raising HK$303.6 million in net proceeds to repay the loans.

* High-end liquor distributor Silver Base Group Holdings Ltd said it has entered into exclusive distribution agreements to distribute two Fenjiu products, Red Fen Shijia No. 1 and No. 9 in China until end 2015.

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