HONG KONG Nov 29 Hong Kong shares could start higher on Thursday after three days of losses, tracking Wall Street strength after positive comments from another senior U.S. official on the prospects of a budget deal to avert a fiscal crisis in the world's largest economy.
Chow Tai Fook and CST Mining are among companies expected to post corporate earnings later in the day.
On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index closed down 0.6 percent at 21,709 points. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong ended down 1.2 percent at 10,399.2.
Japan's Nikkei was up 0.6 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.9 percent at 0049 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* Oil prices fell on Wednesday, hit by expectations that fuel demand will remain weak next year even if the U.S. Congress reaches a deal to avoid the looming "fiscal cliff".
* Canada said on Wednesday it would decide soon on two big foreign takeover bids for domestic energy companies, despite possible delays in approval by U.S. regulatory authorities. The government is studying a $15.1 billion proposal by China's CNOOC Ltd to buy Nexen Inc and a C$5.2 billion ($5.3 billion) bid by Malaysia's Petronas for Progress Energy Resources Corp.
* China Gas Holdings Ltd said its first-half net profit more than doubled to HK$808 million.
* Next Media Ltd, owned by Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, has signed a deal with five Taiwan tycoons to sell its Taiwan print and TV assets for T$17.5 billion ($601 million), regulators said on Wednesday.
* India's efforts to clamp down on illegal mining have handed a $15 billion lifeline to global iron ore giants, and there could be more to come. The world's biggest producers Vale , Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have taken some of India's market share in China, Japan and South Korea, and now are even eyeing exports to their erstwhile competitor.
* Jewellery retailer Luk Fook Holdings (International) Ltd said its first-half net profit fell 22 percent to HK$558.2 million ($72.0 million) from HK$719.6 million due to a high base effect and surging costs in staff and rent.
* Athletic shoes maker Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd said its profit for the 12 months ended in September rose 12.5 percent to $506 million and turnover increased by 3.6 percent to $7.3 billion. Shoe manufacturing turnover grew slightly by 1.5 percent to $5.07 billion due to increased caution in the placement of orders by brand name customers.
The Pentagon releases photographs linked to allegations of abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.