HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares slipped in choppy trading on Wednesday, weighed down by some heavyweights, as investors awaited the formalization of a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China.
The Hang Seng Index was down 0.2% at 28,901.33 by noon after rising above 29,000 for the first time since July. Social media and gaming company Tencent Holdings fell 0.4% after climbing 1.6% earlier. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China slid 0.8%.
Turnover on the stock exchange's main board was at about 70 billion Hong Kong dollars ($9 billion) by the midday break, higher than usual for the time of day.
Some participants maintained a positive outlook despite the pullback amid growing optimism over Sino-American trade relations. The Hang Seng Index jumped 7% in December and is up 2.5% so far in January as Beijing and Washington are set to sign the first phase of a long-awaited trade deal on Wednesday.
Adding to investor confidence, the U.S. on Monday removed China from a list of currency manipulators, more than five months after it was included in the list following the yuan's drop below 7 to the dollar in August. The yuan traded onshore climbed 0.3% to 6.8733 against the dollar.
"The removal of China's currency manipulator label is a gift along with the trade deal," said Dickie Wong, executive director for research at Kingston Securities.
He added, however, that the stock index is likely to consolidate as investors await more favorable news.
Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post cited sources as saying the deal this week will include pledges by China to buy $200 billion of U.S. goods over two years across the manufacturing, energy, agricultural and service industries.
In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index edged less than 0.1% lower by midday.
China Literature dropped 9.4% in Hong Kong. Private-equity manager Carlyle Group sold around 40.1 million shares in the online publisher to raise about HK$1.52 billion, according to sources. The sale took place at HK$38 per share.
Dongfeng Motor Group declined 1.9% following a 7.4% decrease in December sales volume.
China Kepei Education Group jumped 5.2% after saying it plans to acquire private regular undergraduate school Harbin Institute of Petroleum for 1.45 billion yuan ($210.2 million).
Mobile games developer Zengame Technology Holding added 4% after saying it expects net profit for 2019 to have increased more than 30% from a year ago.
China Resources Power Holdings advanced 2.4% following a 2.3% year-on-year increase in total power generation at its subsidiary plants during December.
Innovent Biologics rose 0.9% after saying it entered an agreement with Coherus Biosciences to out-license the commercial rights for its Avastin biosimilar in the U.S. and Canada. Coherus will pay the group up to $45 million in upfront and milestone payments.
Changsha Broad Homes Industrial Group jumped 10.3% after saying it expects profit for 2019 to have increased significantly from a year ago.
-- Benny Kung