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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares flat as developers counter insurers' gains

Tencent rises after approval to distribute Nintendo Switch

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares ended unchanged on Tuesday, with losses for Chinese developers and lenders offsetting gains for insurers, as markets reopened after a long weekend.

The Hang Seng Index ended unchanged at 29,963.24 after trading in a narrow 300-point range on Tuesday. The gauge rose 0.2% last week. Markets in Hong Kong were closed on Friday and Monday for the Easter holiday.

Country Garden Holdings and China Overseas Land & Investment fell 2.9% and 1.7%, respectively. The declines came after the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, the Politburo, on Friday reiterated that housing was for living and not for investment speculation. The statement came after a meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping.

Among other mainland developers, Sunac China Holdings declined 4%, China Vanke fell 4.2% and China Evergrande Group lost 2.8%.

China Life Insurance rose 1.6% after saying it expects to report an increase of 80% to 100% in first quarter net profit. Ping An Insurance Group added 0.7%.

Social media and gaming heavyweight Tencent Holdings edged 0.4% higher. The company on Thursday received approval from a Guangdong provincial authority to distribute Nintendo's Switch gaming console with a built-in game in that province, a development that takes the Shenzhen-based company's presence into the gaming hardware segment.

The Hang Seng Index, which entered a technical bull market earlier this month after rising 20% from an October low, has struggled to stay above 30,000 points in recent days as traders awaited fresh developments between the U.S. and China on trade and first-quarter earnings reports in those two countries.

"Markets will fluctuate around 30,000 as there is no news," said Daniel So, strategist at CMB International Securities. Investors were looking for first-quarter results from banks and insurers, he added.

On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.5% lower after sliding 1.7% on Monday. The yuan traded onshore slipped 0.1% to 6.7192 against the dollar.

China Molybdenum slid 6% after the mining and smelting company said it expected profit for the January to March quarter to decline 77.4% to 83.9% from a year ago.

Garment maker Pak Tak International slumped 13.9% after saying a substantial shareholder was engaged in preliminary talks with a third party related to the possible sale of its stake in the company. The shares had jumped more than 76% on Thursday before trading was halted at 1 p.m.

Stella International Holdings advanced 3.7% after the footwear maker said it expected profit for the March quarter to have risen "significantly" from a year ago.

Flat Glass Group added 1% following a 10.9% increase in March quarter profit.

-- Amy Lam

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