UPDATE 1-Hong Kong Exchange Q1 net profit inches up, hires CFO


(Adds hiring of Paul Kennedy, trading figures)

HONG KONG, May 8 (Reuters) - Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd, Asia's largest stock exchange by market value, reported a slight gain in first-quarter net profit, beating analysts' expectations with results that were boosted by an uptick in trading volume.

The exchange, world's second largest by value, also announced the appointment of Paul Kennedy as Chief Financial Officer, a position vacant since earlier this year. Kennedy has previously worked at KPMG, Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission and HSBC .

The first-quarter net profit of HK$1.2 billion ($154.64 million) was 1 percent higher than a year ago, and was above the average estimate of HK$932 million net income among nine analysts polled by Reuters.

Turnover in shares traded on the exchange rose in January-March to HK$74.4 billion from HK$63.2 billion a year earlier. The average daily volume of derivatives, stock options and metals contracts all rose from the previous year.

That helped offset a drop in listing fees as Hong Kong's IPO issuance has plunged in the last year.

In December, the HKEx completed its purchase of the London Metal Exchange, an historic deal for Hong Kong that allowed it to expand into commodity trading from its traditional strength of equities.

In the first quarter of 2013, average daily volume was 666,914 lots, an increase of 5 percent from the corresponding period last year, the company said. March 2013 was the second busiest month on record, with an average of 697,753 lots traded per day. Among the various products, aluminium, the LME's largest contract, experienced a volume growth of 8 per cent, according to the HKEx.

($1 = 7.7602 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Michael Flaherty; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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