* HSI -0.7 pct, H-shares -0.6 pct, CSI300 +0.3 pct
* Focus on China annual parliamentary meeting opening Wed
* Sun Art rebounds from 1.5-year low after in-line earnings
* China property sinks after surveys show moderating home prices
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, March 3 (Reuters) - China shares outperformed most Asian markets early on Monday, limiting losses in Hong Kong, with Sinopec and PetroChina firmer on hopes that coming parliamentary meetings will yield more progress on state-owned enterprises reform.
Still, the banking sector was broadly weaker after two surveys showed factory activity in the world’s second-largest economy slowing to multi-month lows, potentially complicating Beijing’s efforts to rebalance the economy.
The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was up 0.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.8 percent. The Nasdaq-style ChiNext Composite Index of mostly high tech startups listed in Shenzhen advanced 1.1 percent.
At midday, the Hang Seng Index was down 0.7 percent to 22,678 points. The China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong, which was down by as much as 1.3 percent, slipped 0.6 percent.
Escalating tensions after Russia bloodlessly seized a part of Ukraine roiled global markets, with riskier assets taking the brunt of the selloff as oil prices jumped.
In contrast to others, “mainland markets are focused squarely on this week’s annual parliamentary meetings, but investors should not be get too carried away,” said Cao Xuefeng, a Chengdu-based analyst with Huaxi Securities. China’s annual parliamentary meetings start in Beijing on Wednesday.
“Growth is slowing and it’s unlikely Beijing will resort to easy growth-friendly policy this time. State-owned enterprise reform has a very popular theme, but it’s too early to get too excited... the details are very important,” Cao added.
In Shanghai, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec climbed 1.9 percent and PetroChina 1.2 percent. Sinopec H-shares rose 1.7 percent, while PetroChina’s slipped 0.4 percent.
Technology counters were among outperformers. China Unicom jumped 2.9 percent in Hong Kong, while its Shanghai-listed parent China United Network Communications soared 6.2 percent.
Chinese property developers sank after two private surveys showed on Saturday that gains in China’s home prices moderated in February. China Overseas Land fell nearly 3 percent in Hong Kong, while Poly Real Estate shed 2.4 percent in Shanghai.
Sun Art Retail shares, which had closed on Friday at their lowest since late July 2012, jumped 6.7 percent in Hong Kong after the Chinese hypermart operator posted a 15.2 percent rise in 2013 net profit, in line with market consensus.
UBS upgraded its Sun Art rating from “sell” to “neutral.” While long term structural issues posed by online platforms could crimp profit, UBS said short covering could lift its Art’s share price given its recent hefty 32 percent correction.
The company said at an earnings briefing on Monday that it expects to spend up to 8 billion yuan in capital expenditure, as it plans to open about 50 stores this year, in line with 2013.