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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares edge up, China ends flat amid investor caution

CR Land, China Vanke and Agile Group climb after first-half earnings

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares edged up on Wednesday, even as investors grappled with lingering worries over global growth and political uncertainty in parts of Asia and Europe.

The Hang Seng Index added 0.2% to 26,270.04 after trading in a narrow 242-point range. China Resources Land rose 4.5% to HK$32.85 after reporting a 43.8% surge in profit for the first half and a 4.7% increase in revenue. HSBC reiterated its "buy" rating on the stock and raised its target price to HK$43.30 from HK$40.60. The stock contributed to more than a fourth of the gauge's gains by points.

Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing ended 0.8% higher. U.S.-listed Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba Group Holding is postponing its Hong Kong listing amid protests in the city, Reuters reported, citing sources.

Among decliners on the 50-stock index, Hong Kong & China Gas fell 5.3% after reporting an 18.8% decline in profit for the first half of the year.

Wednesday's choppy trading followed declines for all three major U.S. equity benchmarks on Tuesday. Investors await minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest meeting, due later Wednesday. On Friday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to speak at the central bank's annual Jackson Hole symposium.

Meanwhile, protests in Hong Kong remain a drag on sentiment as they show few signs of abating. Activists are demanding that the government withdraw its controversial extradition bill, conduct an independent investigation into the police's use of force during the demonstrations and implement universal suffrage.

Globally, investors are watching for more details on the ongoing Sino-American trade spat. They are also worried about political turmoil in Britain as it prepares to leave the European Union, and the prospect of elections in Italy after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday.

The Hang Seng Index had been consolidating over the past few days, said Conita Hung, investment strategy director at Tiger Faith Asset Management. "I'm inclined to be bearish these days because of the situation in Hong Kong and as the trade talks look like they will only get prolonged."

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index ended flat. The yuan traded onshore was little changed against the dollar at 7.0624.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi fell 5% in Hong Kong after reporting April-to-June quarter results. The Beijing-based company on Tuesday reported an 87% slump in second-quarter profit. Revenue for the period rose 14.8% to 51.95 billion yuan ($7.36 billion). Analysts were expecting revenue of 53.52 billion yuan, according to Refinitiv data.

Mainland property developer China Vanke dvanced 1.4% following a 30% jump in first-half net profit.

Agile Group Holdings jumped 5.6% after reporting a 35.1% increase in profit for the January-to-June period.

Chinese online and mobile game developer Kingsoft fell 4.7% to HK$14.50 ($1.85) after saying it swung to a loss of 1.42 billion yuan in the April-June quarter, compared with a profit of 100.95 million a year ago. Nomura kept its "reduce" rating on the stock, but cut its price target to HK$13.80 from HK$16.20.

United Company Rusal rose 3% after saying results from PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel might positively impact its first-half results. Rusal, which has an investment in the Russian nickel and palladium mining company, was unable to obtain the latter's financial information earlier. The Russian aluminum producer said it would make a further announcement on updated interim financial results that were reported last week.

Haidilao International Holding, a Chinese hot-pot restaurant chain, jumped 7.7% after reporting a 40.9% increase in first-half profit and a 59.3% surge in revenue.

--Benny Kung

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