China stocks edged lower on Monday as investors took profits after three days of gains spurred by Beijing’s decision to create a huge new economic zone. Hong Kong stocks barely moved, with investors unwilling to place big bets amid concerns about growing geopolitical risks over Syria and North Korea.
The blue-chip CSI300 index dipped 0.1 percent to 3,513.09 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent to 3,276.86. Some stocks related to the Xiongan New Area, a new economic zone unveiled recently, continued to rally, with investors unfazed by the stock mark regulator’s effort to cool the speculative fever.
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The Shenzhen Stock Exchange has apparently warned several listed companies against misleading investors with bombastic hype around the red-hot theme. Still, developer BBMG Corp and cement maker Tangshan Jidong Cement jumped 10 percent by midday on Monday, the maximum allowed, for the fourth consecutive session.
But Zhang Qi, an analyst at Haitong Securities, said some saw “Xiongan” concept stocks were starting to lose steam. Zhang said some profit-taking was to be expected after Shanghai stocks had their best weekly performance since November 2016 last week.
Defence stocks climbed to a one-month high and added 0.4 percent by the lunch break as investors bet on further friction between China and the United States. President Donald Trump pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear program and help reduce the gaping U.S. trade deficit with Beijing in talks on Friday, even as he toned down the strident anti-China rhetoric of his election campaign.
There was little immediate reaction to news that the head of China’s insurance regulator was under investigation for suspected disciplinary violation. Industry bellwethers China Life Insurance Co Ltd and Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd barely moved.
Real estate stocks remained popular bets, with an index tracking the sector rising 1.5 percent by the lunch break to hit a three-week high. A flurry of economic data this week is expected to show solid economic growth in the world’s second-largest economy in March.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index was roughly unchanged at 24,273.60, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.1 percent, to 10,267.78. Concerns of capital outflows resurfaced after the dollar index climbed to a near four-week high in the morning session, potentially luring money out of emerging markets. Mainland property developers hit a record high and then slid. They were down nearly 0.4 percent by midday.
(Reporting by Jackie Cai and John Ruwitch; Editing by Kim Coghill)