HONG KONG Nov 15 Hong Kong shares could start weaker on Thursday, as investors ready for an expected announcement at 0300 GMT of the new Politburo Standing Committee that will herald the formal start of a once-in-a-decade political transition in China.
China's ruling Communist Party unveils a new leadership line-up on Thursday to steer the world's second-largest economy for the next five years, with Vice President Xi Jinping taking over from outgoing President Hu Jintao as party chief.
Macau gaming counter SJM Holdings is among the few companies expected to post third-quarter corporate earnings later in the day.
On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.2 percent to 21,442 points, rebounding from a one-month low hit on Tuesday. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings finished up 1.7 percent.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 1.1 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 1.2 percent at 0052 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* A former senior executive of Esprit Holdings Ltd paid HK$271 million ($35 million) to increase his holding in the fashion retailer to 5.99 percent, according to a disclosure from the Hong Kong bourse on Wednesday.
* Hewlett Packard will transport its goods across Europe, the Middle East and Africa through Greece's biggest port, the Greek government said on Wednesday, after a deal with China's Cosco Pacific that Athens hopes will attract investors and bolster cargo business at its commercial docks.
* Lenovo Group Ltd, on track to become the world's top PC maker, has bolstered its presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and aims to raise regional operating margins by about 50 percent, a top company executive said on Wednesday.
* Tencent Holdings, China's biggest online gaming and social networking company, surprised with a rare earnings miss, as efforts to expand into new businesses hit margins and the number of fee-paying users for its Internet services fell.
* Britain's No. 1 insurer Prudential is keeping open the option of relocating outside the European Union to avoid potentially damaging new capital rules, it said on Wednesday.
* Oleg Deripaska's En+ Group topped up its shareholding in UC RUSAL, where he faces a slide in profits on the back of a weak aluminium market and a possible boardroom revolt by two fellow mining tycoons who also hold stakes in the company.
* Sunshine Oilsands Ltd said Toronto Stock Exchange has approved the secondary listing of the company shares. The company said it would not raise additional funds nor issue any new shares and the shares would commence trading in Toronto on Nov 16.
* China Pacic Insurance (Group) Co Ltd said it has completed placing of 462 million new H-shares, or 16.6 percent of enlarged H-share capital, at HK$22.50 apiece, raising net proceed of about HK$10.2 billion.
* GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd said it intended to enter into a new loan agreement to lend 3.6 billion yuan ($578 million) to Beijing Zhansheng Investment Co Ltd for up to three years in a bid to secure management rights on retail chain operator Beijing Dazhong Home Appliances Retail Co Ltd.($1 = 6.2252 Chinese yuan)