HONG KONG, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks are expected to rise slightly on Wednesday, tracking firmer overseas markets, with Chinese insurance stocks likely to be in focus as China's third largest insurer makes its trading debut.
"A firmer open is expected but a big rally is unlikely ahead of the holiday," said Patrick Yiu, a director at CASH Asset Management. "The trading debut of China Pacific Insurance will definitely be a market focus."
Range trading is expected for the day with the topside set at about 21,300, Yiu said.
China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co (2601.HK) (601601.SS), China's third largest life insurer, which raised $3.1 billion in IPO and is partly-owned by U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group [CYL.UL], will start trading on Wednesday.
Huayu Expressway Group Limited (1823.HK) will also begin trading on Wednesday.
Brokers said investors wpuld also keep a close watch on China markets for clues on direction, with upside capped on concern over further measures from the Chinese authorities to temper property speculation.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI ended up 0.69 percent at 21,092.04 on Tuesday, shaking off five consecutive sessions of losses.
The China Enterprises Index .HSCE of top locally listed mainland Chinese stocks rose 1.2 percent to 12,349.86.
STOCKS TO WATCH:
* A consortium formed by Guangzhou R&F Properties (2777.HK), Agile Property Holdings (3383.HK) and Country Garden Holdings (2007.HK) won the bid for the Guangzhou Asian Games Town site for 25.5 billion yuan ($3.73 billion) on Tuesday, making it the most expensive site in the country. [ID:nTOE5BL08Y]
* CITIC Resources (1205.HK), which has sold its direct interest in Australian miner Macarthur Coal's MCC.AX operating assets to Macarthur for A$105 million ($92.02 million), resumes trade on Wednesday. For statement, please click: here
* Shui On Construction and Materials Ltd (0983.HK) said its indirect subsidary had agreed to buy a company which leases investment properties in Shanghai for $46.4 million from South Korea's Mirae Asset Maps Asia Pacific Real Estate 1 Investment Co (094800.KS) and Kookmin Bank. For statement, please click: here
* Huaneng Power (0902.HK) (HNP.N), China's biggest electricity provider, said nearly all its shareholders had voted in favour of approving a framework agreement on continuing connected transactions between the firm and its parent firm, China Huaneng Group, at an extraordinary general meeting. For statement, please click: here
* Maoye International Holdings (0848.HK) said its chairman Huang Mao Ru had never been investigated by any Chinese government or law enforcement authorities, contrary to recent media reports. For statement, please click:here ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2311 GMT ------------
INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 .SPX 1118.02 0.36% 3.970 USD/JPY JPY= 91.77 -0.05% -0.050 10-YR US TSY YLD US10YT=RR 3.7577 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD XAU= 1081.3 -0.21% -2.250 US CRUDE CLc1 74.52 0.16% 0.120 DOW JONES .DJI 10464.93 0.49% 50.79 ASIA ADRS .BKAS 125.96 0.71% 0.89 ------------------------------------------------------------- > Wall St advances on optimism about housing sector [.N] > Dollar in demand as yields attract, Kiwi skids [USD/] > bond fall as recovery hope fuel risk appetite [US/] > Gold slides to 7-wk low, dollar hits 3-1/2-mo high [GOL/] > Oil rises above $74 on expected inventory draw [O/R] (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)