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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares extend losses before US-China deal

Chow Tai Fook slips after announcing it will not renew leases for 15 stores

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares headed for a second day lower on Wednesday, as investors awaited details from a formal Sino-American trade deal expected to be signed later in the day.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.9% to 28,638.95 by noon. The index ended 0.2% lower on Tuesday after climbing above 29,000 for the first time since July. Pan-Asia insurer AIA Group lost 1.6%, contributing most to the index's losses by points. Among other heavyweights, internet services heavyweight Tencent Holdings declined 0.8%, while Ping An Insurance Group dropped 1.4%.

Market sentiment in recent days has been supported by expectations that the U.S. and China will sign a preliminary trade agreement later Wednesday, a move that will involve the rollback of some existing U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for a pledge by Beijing to buy more American products. The two sides are also expected to begin negotiations for a phase two agreement in due course.

Other existing tariffs on Chinese goods will likely remain in place until after the U.S. presidential election in November, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Any reductions will depend on Beijing's compliance with terms in the phase-one deal, the report added. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said existing tariffs could stay in place until a phase two agreement is signed.

People already expect phase-two negotiations to be more difficult, said Alvin Ngan, an analyst at Zhongtai International Securities. "The drop so far is just because of investors pocketing profits."

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.7% by midday, while the yuan traded onshore declined 0.2% against the dollar to 6.8949.

Chinese securities broker Guotai Junan International Holdings slid 6% to HK$1.40 after saying it plans to sell up to 2.59 billion rights shares in the ratio of one for every three held at HK$1.45 each.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group declined 1.8%. The company plans to close up to 15 stores in Hong Kong from among the points of sale whose leases are due to expire in the financial year ending March 2021, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.

Eagle Ride Investment Holdings surged 17% after saying it entered a memorandum of understanding with Cornucopiae Asset Management to cooperate and establish a private equity investment fund.

Meanwhile, shares of three companies began trading in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Those of Chinese restaurant operator Jiumaojiu International Holdings jumped 42.3% after the company raised 2.2 billion Hong Kong dollars ($282.9 million) in gross proceeds from an initial public offering.

Shares of Singapore-based contractor CTR Holdings tumbled 19.4%, while Beijing Enterprises Urban Resources Group slipped 7.2%.

-- Benny Kung

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