Hong Kong shares rebounded from a seven-week low in lackluster volumes early on Monday, led by some financial and energy counters after the weekend brought upbeat quarterly earnings.
Mainland Chinese markets slipped, some investors still worried there could be a cash crunch even though money rates eased from four-month highs.
The central bank's two scheduled open market operations this week - on Tuesday and Thursday - are awaited after there were no cash injections the past three sessions despite spiking demand.
At midday, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was down 0.4 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.2 percent.
The Hang Seng Index, which ended Friday at its lowest since Sept. 6, climbed 0.5 percent at 22,807.1 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong rose 0.9 percent.
"The focus this week will be earnings, China's money rates and the PMI number at the end of the week," said Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity sales.
"Flows are quite slow today and investors will likely stay on hold for the rest of this week with so much China policy uncertainty at this point," Wong added.
A top Chinese leader promised "unprecedented" economic and societal reforms at the Communist Party's much anticipated plenum meeting next month, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
Beijing is due to release its October manufacturing purchasing managers index on Friday. A private preliminary survey came in at a seven-month high last week, driven by strong new orders.
A positive reading on Friday could cement expectations the Chinese central bank will tighten money supply, with economic growth for the world's second-largest economy now likely to meet the official goal of 7.5 percent.
Mid-sized lenders were among Monday's biggest drags on onshore Chinese indexes. China Minsheng Bank fell 2.1 percent in Shanghai and Ping An Bank 2.8 percent in Shenzhen after the sector outperformed last week.
Chinese property A-shares were also weaker after the Shanghai vice mayor said the city will increase the supply of affordable housing following September home-price rises. Vanke fell 1.9 percent in Shenzhen.
But there were gains for China's two largest insurers. China Life Insurance and Ping An Insurance posted robust quarterly results, thanks to improved financial market investment returns.
China Construction Bank (CCB) shares were also buoyed by in-line quarterly earnings. On Sunday, CCB became the first among the "Big Four" Chinese banks to report. The rest are due on Wednesday.
Strong earnings also lifted the shares of China Oilfild Services by 7.9 percent in Hong Kong and 5.4 percent in Shanghai.
Zoomlion Heavy Industry jumped 5.8 percent in Hong Kong and 7.3 percent in Shenzhen after a newspaper said it had not thoroughly fact-checked its earlier report that disparaged the Chinese state-owned construction equipment maker.
Chong Hing Bank tumbled 8.3 percent after a unit of China's Guangzhou city government agreed to buy up to three-quarters of the Hong Kong bank for HK$11.64 billion ($1.5 billion) at a 4.6 percent discount to Friday's closing price.