HONG KONG, Dec 5 Hong Kong shares could start slightly lower on Wednesday, hindered by concerns about whether U.S. policymakers can reach a budget agreement by year-end to avert a fiscal crisis. A private survey of China's growing services sector due around 0145 GMT could provide fresh signs that the world's second-largest economy is recovering from lows. On Tuesday, the benchmark Hang Seng Index ended the day up 0.2 percent at 21,800 points while the China Enterprises Index of top locally listed mainland shares rose 0.6 percent. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.2 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.1 percent at 0055 GMT. FACTORS TO WATCH: * HSBC said on Wednesday it has sold its entire HK$72.7 billion ($9.38 billion) stake in Chinese insurer Ping An Insurance , as the bank seeks to sell non-core holdings. * European luxury goods makers knocked back predictions of a boost to sales early next year, saying that economic gloom will continue to discourage shoppers from splashing out on designer dresses and leather handbags. * China Vanke Co Ltd, the country's largest real estate developer by turnover, more than doubled sales in November from a year earlier to 17.13 billion yuan ($2.75 billion). * ZTE Corp , the world's No.5 telecom equipment maker, said on Tuesday it had signed a $20 billion financing agreement with Chinese policy bank China Development Bank (CDB). * Standard Chartered aims to double revenue from its commodities business in the next four years, tapping its substantial emerging markets client base to strengthen its hand and opening a new trading office in China. * Honda Motor Co Ltd and its Chinese joint ventures sold 41,205 vehicles in China in November, down 29.2 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese automaker said on Tuesday. Honda makes vehicles in China in partnership with Dongfeng Motor Group Co and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. * The Bank of East Asia Ltd said it would sell 111.57 million new shares, or 5.01 percent of the enlarged share capital, at HK$29.59 per share to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation for HK$3.3 billion. Sumitomo Mitsui's stake in the Hong Kong-listed bank will be increased to 9.5 percent after the deal.* China Aoyuan Property Group Ltd said it expected to record a significant increase in net profit for year ending December as compared to the same period a year ago due to gain from substantial disposal.(Reporting by Clement Tan and Donny Kwok; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
The Pentagon releases photographs linked to allegations of abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.