HONG KONG May 24 Hong Kong shares may start steady on Friday after the release of weak Chinese manufacturing data and signs from the Federal Reserve that it is considering reducing monetary stimulus.
On Thursday, the Hang Seng Index closed down 2.5 percent at 22,669.7 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong tumbled 2.8 percent. For both, this was the biggest loss since April 5.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 2.6 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.2 percent at 0045 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Italian fashion house Prada is not planning on returning to the acquisition trail for now, its chief executive said on Thursday, dousing speculation it might be in the hunt for deals.
* China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd said it would buy a fruit juice concentrates supplier from controlling shareholder China Hui Yuan Juice Holdings Co Ltd for HK$4.9 billion ($631.17 million) to secure key raw materials and generate new revenues.
* HSBC Holdings named Simon Robertson, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker and chairman of Rolls-Royce RR.L, as the new chairman of its remuneration committee to replace John Thornton.
* Chinese gold miner Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd said on Thursday its unit Norton Gold Fields Ltd has made an offer for Kalgoorlie Mining Company Ltd.
* Lenovo Group Ltd's bold acquisitions in its flagship PC business, a foray into mobile gadgets, and a relatively light debt load are setting it apart from PC rivals as industry shipments take their steepest fall in decades.
* Swiss-based commodities giant Glencore Xstrata said on Thursday that it had done nothing wrong when it engaged in metal swaps with Iran, rejecting a suggestion by U.N. experts that such bartering could have been a way of evading sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.
* Chinese sportswear firm Xtep International Holdings Ltd said its average same store sales in China for the first quarter of 2013 remained flat as compared to a year earlier period. Order value from its trade fair for fourth quarter of 2013 recorded a 15 percent to 17 percent decline as compared to a year-ago period.