HONG KONG Dec 6 Hong Kong shares could start another rise on Thursday, hitting fresh highs since August 2011 after U.S. President Barack Obama said a deal to avert a looming fiscal crisis was possible in "about a week" if Republicans compromise on taxes.
On Wednesday, the Hang Seng Index closed up 2.2 percent at 22,270.9, also surpassing the previous intra-day high set on Monday. The China Enterprises Index of the top Chinese listings in Hong Kong jumped 2.9 percent.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.6 percent, while South Korea's KOSPI was up 0.1 percent at 0048 GMT.
FACTORS TO WATCH:
* HSBC Holdings Plc might pay a fine of $1.8 billion as part of a settlement with U.S. law-enforcement agencies over money-laundering lapses, according to several people familiar with the matter.
* Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis surprised markets on Wednesday by saying the Dec. 10 deadline for ruling on a bid by China's CNOOC Ltd for energy company Nexen Inc could be extended, comments that nudged Nexen's shares lower.
* Europe's biggest bank HSBC has named Peter Boyles as new chief executive for its private banking arm to take over from Krishna Patel, who is resigning from the role he has had since September 2011.
* Nokia is to partner with China Mobile , the world's biggest mobile operator, in a sales deal that will give the Finnish company an opportunity to win back Chinese market share from Apple's iPhone. China Mobile, which has more than 700 million subscribers but no contract to sell iPhones, will start selling a version of Nokia's flagship Lumia 920 smartphone in the world's largest mobile market.
* China Southern Airlines Co Ltd , the country's largest carrier by fleet size, has agreed to buy 10 Airbus A330-300 aircraft for about $1.9 billion, to be delivered in stages from 2014 to 2016.
* Industrial & Commercial Bank of China is eyeing business opportunities in emerging markets as the world's biggest bank by market value opens new branches in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
* Malaysia's state investor Khazanah Nasional Bhd launched an offering of shares in AIA Group of up to $360 million on Wednesday, IFR reported, citing a term sheet of the transaction.
* Italian eyewear maker Luxottica has renewed its licence deal with luxury goods group Prada to the end of 2018, the two companies said on Wednesday.
* The London Metal Exchange (LME) said on Wednesday Britain's High Court had approved its $2.2 billion takeover by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.