Hong Kong stocks edged up to fresh one-month highs on Wednesday morning tracking regional markets as investors awaited U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's news conference for clues that could set near-term direction for global markets.
China stocks slipped due to an increase in equity supply and as mainland airlines weakened after their recent rally on the back of lower oil prices.
The benchmark Hang Seng index headed for a fifth winning session, up 0.7 percent, to 22,899.55 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.6 percent, to 9,726.17 points.
Investors are looking to Trump's first news conference since he won the U.S. presidential election for any hints about his policies. In his campaign, he promised to slash taxes and boost fiscal spending which sent Wall Street to record highs.
But he also vowed to brand China a currency manipulator on his first day in office and has threatened to slap huge tariffs on imports from China, raising political uncertainty between the world's two biggest economies.
Nearly all sectors in Hong Kong advanced, led by resource stocks, underpinned by strong commodities prices on the mainland. The sector was up around 2.4 percent at midday.
Bucking the broad trend was the utilities sector. The rising U.S. interest rate outlook under Trump's administration has pressured the high dividend-paying firms' balance sheets. Hong Kong's interest rates typically react to U.S. monetary policies due to the Hong Kong dollar's peg to the greenback.
In China, the CSI300 index fell 0.5 percent, to 3,340.94 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5 percent, to 3,144.99 points.
Analysts say an apparent increase in equity supply, fuelled by faster approvals of initial public offerings (IPO) and stepped-up issuance of additional shares by listed companies, have put liquidity pressure on the market.
China's securities regulator approved 14 IPO applications on Friday, which was expected to raise up to 4.8 billion yuan ($693.3 million).
Most sectors lost ground in the mainland market. Transportation stocks, down 1.47 percent, was largely dragged lower by airlines succumbing to profit-taking.
China Southern Airlines fell more than 3.2 percent after adding nearly 7.4 percent in the previous session on investor optimism over possible restructuring.
The airline has since clarified news reports by saying mix-ownership reform would only be implemented by its parent and hasn't involved the company.
($1 = 6.9236 Chinese yuan)