HONG KONG Jan 25 (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares look set to start firmer on Friday, tracking positive sentiment from encouraging U.S. data released on Thursday and after solid China factory data.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index closed down 0.2 percent at 23,598.9, slipping further from resistance at about 23,708, the high of May 31, 2011.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 2.1 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.3 percent at 0037 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Struggling Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning Co Ltd said on Friday it planned to issue convertible securitites worth up to HK$1.87 billion ($241 million), seeking capital for its restructuring plan. Its investors Singapore sovereign fund GIC, U.S. private equity fund TPG Capital and Viva China Holdings Ltd had given their "irrevocable undertakings" to the company.
* A senior Lenovo executive said on Thursday that the Chinese computer maker may consider Research in Motion as a takeover target, sending the Blackberry maker's shares up 2 percent just a week before it launches a make-or-break line of redesigned smartphones.
* HSBC , Europe's biggest bank, has hired former Nomura deal-maker William Barter as the head of UK for global banking, it said on Thursday.
* U.S.-Israeli media magnate Haim Saban will buy about 2 percent of Partner Communications from Bank Leumi in addition to a controlling stake from Partner's parent. Saban is also taking on a $300 million loan that Scailex owes to Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, from which Scailex acquired Partner in 2009.
* Beijing Jingkelong Co Ltd said it expected a significant fall in its net profit for the year ended December 2012 compared to a year earlier because of a downturn in China's economy, intense competition and an increase in costs and expenses.
* Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co Ltd said it expected to record about a 1.6 billion yuan loss for 2012, compared to a 944.4 million profit in 2011. It said the loss was due to a volatile international environment, a slowdown in domestic economic growth, and sluggish demand for petrochemicals.
* Container terminal operator COSCO Pacific Ltd said it would buy 39.04 percent equity interests in Taicang International Container Terminal Co Ltd from parent COSCO for HK$323 million.