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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong stocks edge up on renewed trade deal optimism

Apple supplier Sunny Optical leads Hang Seng gainers

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares headed higher on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump signaled progress in Sino-American trade talks.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.3% to 26,148.88 by noon. Sunny Optical Technology Group climbed 3.6%, contributing most to the gauge's gains by points, while heavyweights Tencent Holdings and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China edged 0.2% and 0.4% higher, respectively.

U.S. equities climbed overnight after Trump on Wednesday said trade talks with China for an interim deal were going "very well."

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the talks, that the U.S. expects a deal with China to be completed before Dec. 15, when Washington is expected to impose tariffs on Chinese goods worth more $150 billion. The two countries are moving closer to an agreement on the levies that will be rolled back in a phase one deal, the report said.

Risk sentiment took a hit earlier this week after Trump indicated he was in no hurry to sign a deal with China, signaling that it could even happen after the U.S. Presidential elections next November.

Some market participants were not convinced the gains were sustainable.

"Actually, I'm quite worried," said Kimmy Tong, research director at Anli Securities. "With only a few trading days in December, and the U.S. and China not having officially said trade talks are OK, I do have reservations."

Tong expects trading to be "very volatile" next week ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3%. The yuan traded onshore slipped 0.1% against the dollar to 7.0533.

Shun Tak Holdings added 2.9% after the transportation and real estate company said two of its joint ventures each won a bid to buy a 50% stake in separate real estate development companies from Shenzhen OCT Properties for 4.71 billion yuan ($667.7 million).

Property developer Kaisa Group Holdings was 0.3% higher after rising as much as 2.3% earlier following a 13.5% increase in November contracted sales. Meanwhile, KWG Group Holdings, which reported a 32.5% jump in November presales value, rose 1.5%.

--Benny Kung

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