Chinese and Hong Kong stocks barely moved early on Tuesday even amid strong China factory output and investment data, as caution prevailed ahead of a series of global “risk events” this week. Investors are awaiting the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting meeting on March 14-15, policy decisions by the Bank of England and Bank of Japan, and also keeping an eye on the Dutch general election and shaky oil prices.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,458.56 points by the midday break, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent, to 3,240.57 points.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.1 percent, to 23,842.39 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.5 percent, to 10,314.39.
China’s factory output and fixed-asset investment grew 6.3 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, in the first two months of the year, data showed on Tuesday, exceeding market expectations.
But signs of economic strength received a lukewarm welcome from investors concerned the trend might not be sustainable.
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“Today’s data suggests that China’s economy remained strong at the start of 2017. But this strength remains heavily reliant on rapid investment growth that will be difficult to sustain given clear signals that the fiscal and monetary policy stance will be less supportive this year,” wrote Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.
“As such, we continue to anticipate a slowdown in economic activity in the coming quarters.”
Sector performance was mixed. An index tracking property firms in China jumped 1.8 percent, led by industry heavyweight China Vanke , after data showed China’s property sales surged in the first two months of the year despite government measures to cool the market.
Banking stocks in both China and Hong Kong were firm, as Goldman Sachs updated China stocks to “overweight”, with a bullish view on China’s banking sector, citing improving credit outlook and growing loan pricing power.