HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares edged lower after a choppy morning session on Thursday, as investors digested reports of a possible delay in the signing of an initial Sino-American trade pact.
The Hang Seng Index slipped 0.3% to 27,595.69 by noon after changing directions at least three times. Heavyweights Tencent Holdings and AIA Group fell 1.9% and 0.6%, respectively, contributing to about half the index's losses by points.
Casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group declined 0.9% following a 2% decrease in third-quarter revenue. Geely Automobile Holdings edged 0.5% higher after reporting a 1% year-over-year increase in October sales volume.
U.S. equity indexes ended mixed overnight amid fresh uncertainty over the next steps in U.S.-China trade talks. The two nations may not be able to sign a preliminary trade deal until December, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. The report said two U.S. locations for the potential meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have been ruled out. Meanwhile, Reuters cited a Trump administration official as saying that a meeting could possibly take place in London in early December after a NATO summit that Trump is due to attend.
Trump and Xi were widely expected to sign phase one of a trade agreement as early as this month during a summit in Chile that has since been canceled. Optimism around a possible partial deal has lifted the Hang Seng Index to three-month highs in recent days.
"We are seeing some consolidation after recent gains, but the Hang Seng Index is still solid," said Daniel So, strategist at CMB International, adding that the gauge will be "rather strong" in the short term.
However, "we are still cautious on fundamentals. Phase one of the U.S.-China deal is the easiest part," he said.
In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% in the morning session. The yuan traded onshore fell 0.3% to 7.0174 against the dollar.
Casino operator Wynn Macau dropped 2.8% in Hong Kong after saying net profit for the September quarter more than halved from a year ago and revenue fell 18.2%.
CK Life Sciences International surged 38.9%, extending a 153% rally on Wednesday. The company on Wednesday said its unit will present clinical data from its ongoing phase III study for seviprotimut-L, an investigational melanoma vaccine candidate, at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer's annual meeting in the U.S. The company said initial data from ongoing late-stage clinical trials for the drug are encouraging and show promise.
Automotive parts maker Johnson Electric Holdings jumped 12.7% after reporting a 15.5% increase in net profit for the six months ended Sept. 30.
-- Benny Kung