Chinese shares edged lower on Tuesday as investors took profits after major stock indexes closed near 6-1/2 month highs in the previous session, but the downside was limited by the expectation that the U.S. Federal Reserve would take a dovish stance at its meeting this week. At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.22 per cent at 3,089.50. China's blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.37 per cent. Both indexes closed near 6-1/2 month highs on Monday.
Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.46 per cent to 11,620.81, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.25 per cent at 29,334.61. The smaller Shenzhen index was unchanged for the day and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.12 per cent. Investors are looking to the Fed policy meeting to see whether policymakers have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their "dot plot", a diagram showing individual policymakers' rate views for the next three years.
In contrast to broader market declines, nuclear power-related stocks surged after environmental impact assessments (EIA) for two nuclear power plant projects were submitted for approval to regulators on Monday, a vital stage in the resumption of China's atomic energy programme after a three-year halt in new approvals. State-owned China National Nuclear Power jumped as much as 10 per cent to its highest since April 2018, before trimming gains. It was last up 2.29 percent.
Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.05 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei index was down 0.16 per cent. The yuan was quoted at 6.7162 per U.S. dollar, 0.04 per cent weaker than the previous close of 6.7135. The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were Lanzhou LS Heavy Equipment Co Ltd, up 10.09 per cent, followed by Hunan Chen Dian International Development Co Ltd, gaining 10.04 per cent, and Beijing Teamsun Technology Co Ltd, up by 10.04 per cent.
The largest percentage losers on the Shanghai index were Yiwu Huading Nylon Co Ltd, down 10.01 per cent, followed by Shanghai Yanshi Enterprise Development Co Ltd, losing 4.92 per cent, and Hainan Yedao Group Co Ltd, down by 4.85 per cent. So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 24.16 per cent, while China's H-share index is up 15.3 per cent. Shanghai stocks have risen 5.29 per cent this month.
The top gainers among H-shares were CGN Power Co Ltd, up 3.64 per cent, followed by Great Wall Motor Co Ltd, gaining 3.28 per cent, and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, up by 3.01 per cent. The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Gas Holdings Ltd, which has fallen 4.44 per cent, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, which has lost 2.8 per cent, and Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, down by 2.6 per cent.
In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares dipped 0.6 per cent, while the IT sector fell 0.6 per cent. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd, up 5.27 per cent, while the biggest loser was Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, which was down 2.65 per cent.
(With inputs from agencies.)