China's main stock indexes edged lower on Wednesday amid ongoing uncertainty about growth outlook, but resilient home prices and government efforts to boost the economy kept declines in check. At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.06 percent at 2,568.88. China's blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.09 percent, with its financial sector sub-index lower by 0.06 percent and the healthcare sub-index up 1.04 percent. Property shares rose after new data showed Chinese home prices remained buoyant in December despite tough government curbs. An index tracking real estate firms gained 0.57 percent.
China's central bank made its largest net injection via reverse repo operations on record, adding to evidence that Beijing is shifting to policy easing to counter a slowing economy. Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.14 percent to 10,487.43 points, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.25 percent at 26,763.58. The smaller Shenzhen index was unchanged for the day and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index rose 0.14 percent. Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.07 percent while Japan's Nikkei index eased 0.62 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.7693 per U.S. dollar, 0.12 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.761.
The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Wintime Energy Co Ltd, up 10.17 percent, followed by Gansu Guofang Industry & Trade Group Ltd by Share Ltd, gaining 10.06 percent, and Shanghai No.1 Pharmacy Co Ltd, up by 10.04 percent. The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Sanan Optoelectronics Co Ltd, down 10 percent, followed by Zhongchang Big Data Corp Ltd, losing 8.2 percent and Shenzhen Geoway Co Ltd, down by 5 percent. So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 3.07 percent, while China's H-share index is up 3.7 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 3.07 percent this month. The top gainers among H-shares were CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, up 4.03 percent, followed by Hengan International Group Company Ltd, gaining 3.96 percent and CITIC Securities Co Ltd, up by 3.47 percent.
The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Gas Holdings Ltd, which has fallen 2.47 percent, China Resources Land Ltd, which has lost 2.1 percent and Huaneng Power International Inc, down by 1.8 percent. About 9.05 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 65.9 percent of the market's 30-day moving average of 13.73 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 16.03 billion as of the last full trading day. In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares dipped 0.3 percent while the IT sector fell 0.6 percent. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, up 4.03 percent, while the biggest loser was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd , which was down 2.66 percent.
(With inputs from agencies.)