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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares flat as investors await trade updates

Ping An Good Doctor rises after saying it will buy stake in software company

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares were little changed in the morning session on Wednesday, as investors paused after Sino-American trade deal hopes lifted the city's main equity benchmark to three-month highs.

The Hang Seng Index edged less than 0.1% lower to 27,661.02 by noon after rising 3.8% over the past four days. The gauge fell as low as 27,547.77 earlier on Wednesday, and changed directions at least four times by the noon break.

China Mengniu Dairy slid 5.1%, the biggest contributor to the index's losses by points. The stock rose 4.5% in a four-day winning streak through Tuesday. Among gainers, banking heavyweights HSBC Holdings and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China rose 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.

U.S. equity indexes ended mixed overnight after scaling record highs earlier this week. Hopes for a resolution to the protracted trade war between the U.S. and China have lingered recently. The two nations are widely expected to sign a preliminary agreement as early as this month, and reports suggest both sides are also considering rolling back some punitive tariffs on goods imported from each other.

"Sentiment has improved. Even though the Hang Seng Index dropped a bit, it is standing firm," said Kevin Leung, executive director for investment strategy at Haitong International Securities. With prospects for Sino-American trade talks not appearing to have worsened, global monetary easing and political unrest in Hong Kong neither deteriorating nor improving, the overall sentiment is better, he said.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.2%. The yuan traded onshore rose 0.2% against the U.S. dollar to 6.9956.

Ping An Healthcare and Technology advanced 3.5% in Hong Kong after the online medical services company said its unit has agreed to buy a 20% stake in Shanghai Hydee Software for 131 million yuan ($18.7 million).

Sing Tao News rose 4.2% after saying Chairman Charles Ho, who has a 48.98% interest in the company, is in preliminary talks with an independent potential purchaser regarding a possible sale of a stake.

Edvantange Group Holdings climbed 6.1% after the Chinese higher education provider reported a 34% year-on-year increase in net profit for the year ended Aug. 31.

Liquid-crystal-display panel maker Truly International Holdings added 0.9% following a 12.7% increase in group turnover for October.

-- Benny Kung

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