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Nikkei Markets

Hong Kong stocks pull back as trade deal details awaited

Smartphone component makers AAC and Sunny Optical advance amid 5G hopes

HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Hong Kong shares retreated on Monday as investors awaited details of a Sino-American trade deal, reports about which had pushed the Hang Seng Index to its best day in more than three months on Friday.

The U.S. and China on Friday agreed to a phase one trade deal, following months of escalating tensions between the world's largest economies that involved both countries slapping punitive tariffs on each other's goods.

The 50-stock Hang Seng Index jumped 2.6% on Friday amid indications a deal was imminent. As part of the agreement, the U.S. is cutting by half a 15% tariff on about $120 billion in Chinese goods and it also is suspending plans for duties on goods worth about $160 billion that were meant to take effect on Sunday. China has agreed to make more purchases of U.S. goods.

"The market has priced in a lot of the trade deal news," said Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International. However, "people are still waiting for the details. Investors are waiting for more good news -- they will take profit first and then come back."

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.7% to 27,508.09 on Monday, its steepest loss in nearly two weeks. Financial heavyweights AIA Group and China Construction Bank declined 2% and 0.8%, respectively.

Smartphone component suppliers extended their recent advances on optimism over the sales outlook for 5G handsets in China, with AAC Technologies Holdings climbing 1.4% and Sunny Optical Technology Group gaining 2.4%. Smartphone maker Xiaomi increased 1.2%.

In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.6%. China plans to set a lower economic growth target of around 6% in 2020 from this year's 6% to 6.5% target, Reuters reported, citing policy sources.

Air China edged 0.3% higher in Hong Kong after it reported a 3.2% year-over-year increase in November passenger traffic.

China Resources Land added 1.3% after reporting a 49.1% jump in November gross contracted sales.

PYI, a developer of port-related facilities, jumped 20.3% as trading resumed after the company said during Monday's midday break that two of its units entered conditional agreements to sell their stakes in two ports for a total initial consideration of 659 million yuan ($94 million).

Water Oasis Group jumped 12.6% after the operator of beauty centers reported a 13.1% increase in profit and a 7.9% rise in revenue for the year ended Sept. 30.

Hope Education Group declined 3.6%. The company on Monday said it will acquire two properties in China for 84.7 million yuan to expand its training space and provide student accommodations.

-- Suzannah Benjamin

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