Hong Kong Shares May Start Weaker, U.S. Fiscal Impasse Weighs

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Hong Kong shares may start weaker on Thursday, tracking Wall Street losses as political wrangling in Washington over funding for federal agencies risked a U.S. government shutdown.

File photo of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Chairman Arculli and CEO Li hitting gong on first trading day after Lunar New Year holidays at   the Hong Kong Stock Exchange

  Hong Kong shares may start weaker on Thursday, tracking Wall Street losses as political wrangling in Washington over funding for federal agencies risked a U.S. government shutdown.

A steep drop in Wal-Mart shares could also weigh on Li & Fung.

Investors worried about two looming Washington deadlines. Congress needs to pass stop-gap funding for federal agencies by Oct. 1 and it must by Oct. 17 raise the federal borrowing limit to avoid a U.S. debt default.

On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index finished up 0.1 percent at 23,209.6 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings was flat.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 1.1 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.1 percent at 0038 GMT.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

* Global private equity firm TPG Capital has agreed to sell its China leasing business UT Capital Group Co Ltd to Haitong International Holdings, a unit of Haitong Securities , for $715 million, the two companies said in separate statements on Wednesday.

* Anton Oilfield Services Group announced the renewal of a strategic cooperation agreement with Schlumberger for a term of three years.

* China Merchants Bank , the country's sixth largest lender, received a solid response to its 1.74-for-10 H-share rights issue, with the book multiple times covered, according to two sources, Thomson Reuters IFR reported.

* China's CNOOC has won a final production licence for Uganda's Kingfisher oil field and will spend $2 billion over four years to develop it, a senior Ugandan official said.

* Russia's United Company Rusal, the world's biggest aluminium producer, asked the London Metal Exchange to postpone a proposed overhaul of warehouse rules, saying it could further distort the aluminium market.

* Sunshine Oilsands Ltd said it has signed a non-legally binding preliminary agreement with an international third party to pursue a joint venture involving its Muskwa and Godin area oil sands leases, in which the third party will be responsible for investing up to $250 million.

* China Haisheng Juice Holdings Co Ltd said it has not used rotten fruits to manufacture its products. Authorities requested a shut down of its Dangshan manufacturing plant for an inspection and found no evidence to support the allegations.

 
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