Shanghai stocks were flat on Wednesday following strong gains the previous session, as investors were unsure whether China's better-than-expected first-quarter economic growth would sustain.
** The CSI300 index fell 0.3 per cent to 4,075.29, while the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,253.76. ** China's economy grew at a steady 6.4 per cent pace in the first quarter from a year earlier, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as industrial production jumped sharply and consumer demand showed signs of improvement.
** China's fiscal spending increased 15 per cent during January-March from a year ago levels to support economic growth, and local governments quickened their bond issuance for key projects, the finance ministry said on Tuesday. ** China's economy still faces downward pressure, while policy steps to support the economy are starting to bear fruit, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday.
** "We believe there is still downward economic pressure in the second quarter, though the stock market will selectively reflect upbeat factors amid 'bullish sentiment', as the gains, for now, are more driven by expectations of economic recovery than by actual data confirming improvement," CITIC Securities said in the report. ** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.2 per cent to 30,062.47, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.1 per cent to 11,827.92 points.
** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index rose 0.03 per cent while Japan's Nikkei index gained 0.27 per cent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.7059 per U.S. dollar, 0.1 per cent firmer than the previous close of 6.7128.
** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Taiyuan Chemical Industry Co Ltd, up 10.09 per cent, followed by Hunan Corun New Energy Co Ltd, which gained 10.07 per cent and China Publishing & Media Holdings Co Ltd, up 10.05 per cent. ** The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were Zhejiang Huatie Construction Safety Science and Technology Co Ltd, down 6.46 per cent, followed by Yijiahe Technology Co Ltd, which lost 5.59 per cent and Luoyang Glass Co Ltd, down 5.14 per cent.
** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 30.46 per cent, while China's H-share index is up 16.8 per cent. Shanghai stocks have risen 5.27 per cent this month. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Byd Co Ltd, up 4.48 per cent, followed by Great Wall Motor Co Ltd, gaining 2.32 per cent and China Pacific Insurance Group Co Ltd, up by 2.28 per cent.
** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Gas Holdings Ltd, which has fallen 5.09 per cent, China Vanke Co Ltd, which has lost 2.7 per cent and CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, down by 2.3 per cent. ** About 20.74 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 50.9 per cent of the market's 30-day moving average of 40.77 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 35.79 billion as of the last full trading day. As of 04:15 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 26.72 per cent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.
(With inputs from agencies.)