HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares ended higher on Tuesday as market attention shifted toward trade optimism, although they gave up some gains as investors watched developments related to Middle East tensions.
The Hang Seng Index rose 0.3% to 28,322.06 after rising as high as 28,473.08 earlier. Internet services company Tencent Holdings rose 2.2% and pan-Asia insurer AIA Group added 1.2%, effectively offsetting declines by other companies. China Construction Bank lost 0.6% and China Mobile dropped 0.7%.
Early gains came as investors appeared to turn their focus to progress in Sino-American trade relations. A Chinese trade delegation, including Vice Premier Liu He, plans to sign the first phase of a Sino-American trade deal in Washington on Jan. 15, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Anxiety over geopolitics remained, however, after a U.S. airstrike on Friday killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds force, in Iraq.
Brent crude futures pulled back after rising above $70 a barrel for the first time in three months.
"I think investors were over-worried," said Kimmy Tong, research director at Anli Securities. "We are seeing investors build positions, pour money into technology stocks." She added that it was "just a matter of time" before the Hang Seng Index rises to 30,000 points.
In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4%.
Mainland property developer Country Garden Holdings advanced 1% in Hong Kong after it reported a 1.9% increase in December contracted sales.
Geely Automobile Holdings rose 1.6% following a 39% year-on-year jump in December total sales. Meanwhile, Guangzhou Automobile Group edged 0.3% lower after reporting a 0.3% slip in December sales volume.
China Merchants Land surged 8.1% after saying it expects to report an at least 35% jump in profit for the year ended Dec. 31.
Bosideng International Holdings jumped 12.2% after saying its accumulated retail sales for Bosideng-branded down apparel products increased more than 30% on-year during the nine months ended Dec. 31.
Property developer Kaisa Group Holdings jumped 4.7% following a 25.2% increase in December contracted sales.
KWG Group Holdings added 1.5% following a 57% surge in December presales value.
Smartphone components maker Q Technology (Group) rose 2.6% after reporting an 18.7% increase in sales volume for camera modules in December.
Liquid-crystal display products maker Truly International Holdings climbed 4.2% after reporting a 17.7% increase in net turnover for December.
-- Benny Kung