The last great corporate deal before the handover promises to be Hongkong Telecom settling its China dilemma. Yesterday, rumours swirled that a resolution was imminent. The share price climbed 5.3 per cent with reports Citic Pacific was offering its 8 per cent stake through Peregrine. The sight of CEF Capital and Peregrine as aggressive buyers only added intrigue with the potential involvement of Li Ka-shing. Of course, deal rumours have come and gone all year. Most brokerages value the stock at $12.50 to $13.50 given the continued erosion of market share from new competitors. Thursday will see final year results, a ritual that rarely provides surprises. Nothing in those numbers promises to pep up share performance. Any upside will come from two sources. Should C&W sell a strategic stake to China-backed parties the promise of mainland market access is likely to trigger a rally. Investors may, of course, quickly re-assess the bottom line impact of any deal and lose interest in the story. Similarly, an announcement of the terms by which early termination of its international licence is decided may be critical. Should a good deal be struck on attractive terms the removal of uncertainty is likely to trigger a buying spree. Forget not, false deal rumours have provided rich trading profits for plenty of interested parties.