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Equities

Hong Kong stocks waver after record-setting rally

Index of mainland Chinese companies flat after 16-day winning streak

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares were little changed by midday on Monday after a choppy morning trading session, as investors paused for a breath after the city's main index climbed to a record high for four straight days.

The Hang Seng Index slipped 0.04% to 32,240.78 by the noon break after changing direction at least nine times. China Unicom (Hong Kong) dropped 0.7% after saying it added 4.4 million 4G subscribers in December, slowing from 5.1 million additions in November and 5.5 million in the year-ago period. Casino operators Galaxy Entertainment Group and Sands China added 2.9% and 2.7%, respectively.

Ping An Insurance Group added 1% for its third consecutive day higher. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was little changed from Friday's close at 13,176.80. The gauge of large mainland Chinese companies in the city has climbed every day since Dec. 28, and is currently trading at its highest level since June 2015.

U.S. indexes closed at record highs on Friday amid the looming threat of a government shutdown, as Democrats and Republicans disagreed on immigration policy ahead of a deadline on government spending measures. Funding for the government ran out at midnight Friday, and both parties worked over the weekend to find a resolution. The Nikkei Asia300 Index edged 0.2% higher on Monday, while U.S. stock futures pointed to a weaker opening on Monday.

"The U.S. federal government shutdown is not having much of an impact on Hong Kong equities. The stock market took this as an excuse to correct a bit," said Daniel So, strategist in the research department of CMB International Securities. So said the Hang Seng Index will likely continue its "rallying trend," with minor corrections occasionally. Any retreat "will not be large," he added.

The city's main gauge is up 7.8% this year, closing at a fresh record high on Friday.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.2% higher, while its Shenzhen counterpart rose 0.9%. The onshore-traded yuan lost 0.1% against the U.S. dollar to 6.4050.

China Reinsurance Group climbed 3.9% after saying aggregate premium income of its unit China Continent Property & Casualty Insurance Co. for 2017 rose 16.2%.

China Harmony New Energy Auto Holding jumped 6.1% after forecasting a profit of at least 1 billion yuan ($156.2 million) in 2017 following a loss in the year-ago period.

Sinofert Holdings added 2.1%. The fertilizer maker expects its operating loss to narrow in 2017, thanks to a recovery in the domestic fertilizer market.

Real-estate developer China Jinmao Holdings Group surged 9.7% to HK$4.42 after saying its executive directors and management bought 31.6 million shares at HK$3.8079 apiece on Jan. 15 with self-owned funds.

China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) edged 0.6% lower despite reporting a 3.4% increase in oil and gas production for 2017. The stock is up 13% this year as global oil prices hover near three-year highs.

Biochemical company Chia Tai Enterprises International jumped 7% after saying it expects a significant increase in 2017 net profit.

-- Amy Lam

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