Hong Kong finished with a small loss Tuesday after earlier declines narrowed when the government relaxed social distancing restrictions, allowing restaurants to serve until 9pm beginning Friday. Stocks perked up on the announcement after falling as much as 0.8 per cent. The Hang Seng benchmark finished with a 0.3 per cent loss at 25,486.22. That left it below 25,500 after it closed Monday above that level – at 25,551.58 – for the first time in five weeks. “25,000 is the peak since the middle of July,” said Alan Li, portfolio manager at Atta Capital. “The market will likely struggle at a certain level for a few days.” Information technology stocks were the top losers. AAC Technologies tumbled 7.4 per cent on Monday’s disappointing second-quarter results and a downgrade by Citigroup to “sell”. It was the worst performer on the Hang Seng, followed by Sunny Optical, as Goldman Sachs cut the lens maker to “sell” from “buy”. The Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.4 per cent at 3,372.58, snapping a two-session winning streak. The ChiNext Index – operating under loosened rules that led one debuting stock on Monday to soar nearly 3,000 per cent – rose 0.6 per cent, extending gains for a third day. China’s vice-premier Liu He, who officiated at the debut of 18 stocks on the ChiNext on Monday, called a registration-based IPO pilot reform of the board “an important part of China’s capital market construction, which will pave the way for the future roll-out of the system on the main board and the [small and medium size enterprises] board.” He said the smoother IPO system “is designed to ease enterprises’ burdens, and increase transparency with an open and paperless application review process. It is hoped that the ChiNext can complement other boards to create a multi-layered capital market with different emphasis to increase the market’s comprehensiveness in helping companies raise funds.” The day was packed with headlines for investors to weigh. In the morning, US and Chinese officials spoke on the telephone about the status of the phase one trade deal. Afterward, both sides issued positive statements . The talks came at a time of increasingly sour relations between the world’s leading economies, as President Donald Trump, facing a tough re-election battle, has attacked China on everything from its handling of the coronavirus outbreak to claimed national security threats posed by its tech giants Huawei as well as Tencent through the popular WeChat app. There was no indication that Tuesday’s conversation went beyond trade. Meanwhile, US equities hit fresh highs overnight on hopes for new Covid-19 treatments and vaccines. US futures were up when Hong Kong’s market closed for the day. In Hong Kong, Alibaba, the e-commerce group that owns the South China Morning Post, advanced 1.8 per cent, while Tencent slipped 0.6 per cent. The Hang Seng Tech Index of Hong Kong’s 30 largest tech companies declined 1.5 per cent. Among the day’s decliners were the two stocks-- besides Alibaba-- that will be added to the Hang Seng Index on September 7. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi slid 1.7 per cent, while pharmaceutical developer Wuxi Biologics lost 3.7 per cent. The pair made spectacular gains last week – Xiaomi shot up 18.4 per cent; Wuxi jumped 10.5– after being tapped to join the Hang Seng Index. Safe haven gold rose 0.2 per cent to US$1,933.19 on Tuesday while silver slipped 0.2 per cent to US$26.54 per ounce in recent trades. The precious metals have soared this year amid uncertainties around the coronavirus and worries about possible inflation given the flood of stimulus by governments to boost virus-stricken economies. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 and South Korea’s Kospi rose by at least 1.4 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched up 0.5 per cent. Meanwhile, two stocks debuted on the mainland: Wuxi Paike New Materials Technology and Ningbo TIP Rubber Technology shot up by the 44 per cent upside limit on the first day of trading on most mainland boards.