China stocks edge up on coal, bond plans; Hong Kong flat

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China shares SPH;newbs-markets:

rose slightly on Wednesday, helped by coal stocks after a news report the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) plans to establish two or three national markets for coal trading.

A Reuters report that China is allowing local governments to sell municipal bonds in an experiment to clean up messy state budgets also improved sentiment, brokers said.

The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen listings was up 0.2 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1 per cent to 2,010.96 points. "It's clear that there are some funds to support the index moving above 2,000 points and today's focus is the coal and software industries," said Zheng Weigang, analyst at Shanghai Securities in Shanghai.

At midday, the Hang Seng Index was down 0.1 per cent at 22,813.21 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong was up 1 per cent.

The report on the planned China coal markets was published in the China Securities Journal.

Almost all coal-related companies rose on the report, with Datong Coal Industry Co surging 8.7 per cent and Houlinghe Opencut Coal Industry Corporation Ltd of Inner Mongolia climbing 5.5 per cent.

Shares in software firms also rose on Wednesday, as investors saw brighter prospects for them due to reduced foreign competition after China banned government use of Windows 8, Microsoft Corp's latest operating system.

China National Software & Service Company Limited jumped by the 10 per cent daily limit and Shanghai Amarsoft Information & Technology Co rose 8.5 per cent. Both hit their highest in six weeks.

"Investors were convinced that the relative high valuation of China's tech-stocks was justified after firms like Tencent reported solid earnings," said Steven Leung, a director at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, shares of Lenovo Group rose 1.9 per cent prior to their earnings statement. At the midday break, the Chinese personal computer maker said its 2013/14 net profit rose 28.7 per cent year on year to US$817.2 million for the fiscal year ended in March.