China stocks flat; energy stocks drag Hong Kong lower

By: | Published: March 10, 2017 11:59 AM

China stocks were flat on Friday morning, with investors giving a cool reception to economic and investment policies from the country's annual parliamentary meeting and staying sidelined ahead of a widely expected US rate hike next week.

China’s central bank governor said during morning trading hours that making monetary policy neutral will help China’s supply-side reforms, reinforcing expectations that liquidity will be relatively tight. (Reuters)

China stocks were flat on Friday morning, with investors giving a cool reception to economic and investment policies from the country’s annual parliamentary meeting and staying sidelined ahead of a widely expected U.S. rate hike next week. Hong Kong shares were also sluggish, as a second day of weakness in energy and raw material shares curbed risk appetite. The CSI300 index rose 0.1 percent, to 3,430.20 points by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,215.88 points. The meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) has so far failed to deliver policies that exceed market expectations, analysts said, prodding some investors to reduce their holdings as liquidity conditions will likely get tighter.

“Due to recent market fluctuations, some investors have decided to leave the market, resulting in higher selling pressure,” said Qian Qimin, analyst at SWS Research, warning that further correction is likely if there’s no good news ahead.

From a technical point of view, the Shanghai market is also in a downward trend, Qian said.

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China’s central bank governor said during morning trading hours that making monetary policy neutral will help China’s supply-side reforms, reinforcing expectations that liquidity will be relatively tight.

Sector performance was mixed on Friday.

Consumer and material stocks rebounded but infrastructure and energy shares sagged.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was unchanged at 23,496.80 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.6 percent, to 10,038.02.

Energy shares fell sharply for the second day, as oil prices slid again as bearish sentiment deepened.

(Samuel Shen and John Ruwtich)

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