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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong shares pause for breath near five-week high

Apple supplier Cowell e Holdings jumps after issuing positive profit alert

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares were little changed after the morning session on Wednesday, as investors appeared to pause after a recent rally in the wake of a partial Sino-American trade agreement.

The Hang Seng Index slipped less than 0.1% to 27,822.79 by noon after closing at a five-week high on Tuesday. The gauge rose to a high of 27,970.76 earlier in the session. Financial heavyweights HSBC Holdings and AIA Group slipped 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively, while internet services provider Tencent Holdings added 0.9%. China Shenhua Energy declined 0.6% after reporting a 2.3% fall in November coal sales.

The city's main benchmark gauge has jumped more than 800 points over the last three trading days amid relief the preliminary trade agreement between the world's two largest economies would support stronger economic growth. U.S. equity indexes have repeatedly set record highs on the news, as well as from the Federal Reserve's signal that it will hold interest rates steady.

While all details of the trade agreement have not been disclosed, both countries confirmed a deal was reached on Friday. Washington suspended plans to impose a fresh round of tariffs and said it will lower some existing levies, while China is said to have agreed to buy more U.S. products.

"Investors have by and large priced in the phase one deal," said Daniel So, a strategist at CMB International. "The good news is that there are no more tariff increases. More details are needed to drive the market higher."

As the gauge trades near its November peak, investors are taking profit, he added.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.1% lower on Wednesday, while the yuan traded onshore slipped 0.1% against the dollar to 7.0067.

Apple-supplier Cowell e Holdings jumped 15.5% in Hong Kong after saying it expects to record a "significant improvement" in profit for 2019.

Cathay Pacific Airways edged 0.2% lower after reporting a 9% decline in November passenger traffic, its fourth straight monthly drop.

Household appliance maker JS Global Lifestyle, making its debut in Hong Kong on Wednesday, climbed 6% to HK$5.51 from its initial public offering price of HK$5.20.

Meanwhile, pipe products maker Maike Tube Industry Holdings jumped 13.2% in its trading debut.

Tailam Tech Construction Holdings' shares surged 31.5% to HK$1.71 from their IPO price of HK$1.30.

-- Suzannah Benjamin

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