HONG KONG, Sept 18 Hong Kong shares may start lower on Tuesday, with commodities-related stocks likely in focus following steep overnight losses in the physical markets.
Oil fell nearly $3 on Monday in a wild session that saw Brent plunge more than $5 a barrel in a wave of late, high-volume selling before paring losses as markets sought an explanation for the sudden crash.
Official data for China housing prices in August, expected later in the day, will also be keenly watched. Data in the last two months showing rising prices had spurred losses for Chinese developers listed in both Hong Kong and mainland China markets.
On Monday, the Hang Seng Index inched up 0.1 percent to 20,658.1, its highest since early May, but it failed to hold onto early gains despite opening above chart resistance at 20,674.5, the lower end of a gap between May 4 and 7.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.1 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.3 percent as of 0055 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Combined profits of China's state-owned firms fell 12.8 percent in the first eight months of 2012 from a year earlier, easing from an annual fall of 13.2 percent seen in the January-July period, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.
* China will increasingly conduct monetary policy using price-based tools such as interest and currency rates rather than quantitative mechanisms, according to a blueprint of financial reforms expected between 2011 through 2015 published on Monday.
* Private equity firm CVC Capital and Royal Bank of Scotland sold a combined 153.6 million shares in luggage maker Samsonite International, raising HK$2.22 billion ($286 million), IFR reported on Monday.
* Standard Chartered said it expects to double profit in its core wholesale bank to more than $10 billion in the next 4-5 years as its key Asian markets grow faster than the West and it builds on market share won when its rivals retrenched.
* Beijing Development (Hong Kong) Ltd said it would buy a domestic garbage incineration-power generation firm for up to $535 million as it aims to broaden its source of income by expanding its business into renewable energy power generation.
* Chinese developer Shanghai Zendai Property Ltd said it acquired the land use rights of a parcel of land in Changchun for 76.9 million yuan to develop serviced apartments and office buildings. For statement, here
* China Molybdenum Co Ltd said Chinese regulators had approved its plan to issue up to 542 million A shares, and the company would make an announcement once the offer size and price have been determined. For statement, here
* China Modern Dairy Holdings Ltd, which posted a 77.4 percent rise in profit to 398.48 million yuan for the year ended in June, said it has appointed Julian Juul Wolhardt, a non-executive director of the company, as the chairman of the board, replacing Deng Jiuqiang who would remain as an executive director. For statement, here (Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Chris Gallagher)