HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares were little changed after a choppy morning session on Monday, with investors waiting to see if the U.S. and China will sign a preliminary trade agreement before a tariff deadline on Dec. 15.
The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.02% to 26,504.76. Heavyweights diverged, with London-headquartered lender HSBC Holdings adding 0.8%, while pan-Asia insurer AIA Group fell 0.6%.
Turnover on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's main board was at 38.02 billion Hong Kong dollars ($4.86 billion) by noon.
Markets are awaiting clarity on a phase one Sino-American trade deal, as the deadline for higher U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods looms.
"Worries over the trade war are not dissipating," said Alan Li, portfolio manager at Atta Capital. "Investors are anxious," especially as the year end is approaching.
Meanwhile, data released on Sunday showed China's exports unexpectedly fell 1.1% from a year earlier in November, worsening from October's 0.9% drop. Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a 1% expansion in exports. Imports rose 0.3% from a year earlier.
In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index was little changed.
In Hong Kong, an estimated 800,000 people participated in a peaceful march on Sunday as an anti-government movement entered its seventh month. The protest was the largest the city has seen in months, and came weeks after pro-democracy candidates won a landslide victory in local elections.
Smartphone component supplier Q Technology (Group) climbed 1.8% in Hong Kong following a 66% jump in sales volume for camera modules in November.
PacRay International Holdings jumped 39% after the integrated circuit and semiconductor parts maker said its controlling shareholder Glory Genius International Holdings proposed to sell a 4.5% stake in the company to Zhong Cai Capital Group.
Anta Sports Products fell 2.8% even as the sportswear retailer said it expects net profit for the year ending Dec. 31 to rise at least 45% from a year ago.
Guangzhou Automobile Group edged 0.3% lower after the carmaker reported a 4.3% decrease in November total sales. Geely Automobile Holdings fell 1.4% even as November total sales rose 1% from a year ago.
Longfor Group Holdings added 1.4% after reporting a 17% increase in November contracted sales. Greenland Hong Kong Holdings advanced 4% after saying its unit won a bid to buy a land parcel in China's Nantong city for 1.23 billion yuan ($178.8 million).
Powerlong Real Estate Holdings rose 2.3% following a 9.8% increase in November contracted sales.