HONG KONG Aug 1 Hong Kong shares could start August higher on Thursday after China's official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) came in higher than expected, with another similar private survey due shortly after the market open.
China's official PMI for July came in at 50.3, versus a Reuters poll consensus of 49.9 and the June reading for 50.1. The final HSBC-sponsored PMI reading is due at 0145 GMT.
On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index ended down 0.3 percent at 21,883.7 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong slipped 0.1 percent.
Elsewhere in Asia at 0054 GMT, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.4 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was flat.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Citic Securities Company Limited has completed its acquisition of the remaining 80 percent stake it did not already own in brokerage CLSA, the Chinese securities company said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing on Wednesday.
* China's largest private shipbuilder China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group is set to issue HK$1.4 billion ($180.5 million) in convertible bonds, according to a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing on Wednesday. Barclays said conversion would result in a 20 percent increase in outstanding shares.
* Manulife Financial Corp said it would sell its life insurance operations in Taiwan to CTBC Life Insurance, a unit of CTBC Financial Holding Co. >
* AV Concept Holdings Limited said it would issue HK$43.6 million worth of new shares to investors including Francis Leung and Zhe Wei, raising proceeds to fund future development and acquisitions.
* Shun Tak Holdings Ltd said it has successfully bid for a piece of land for office, hotel and commercial development in Hengqin New Area in China's Zhuhai for 721 million yuan ($117.6 million).
* Noodle restaurant chain Ajisen (China) Holdings Limited said it expected to record a substantial increase in first-half net profit due to steady growth in its core businesses and effective cost control.($1 = 6.1289 Chinese yuan)