February 12, 2015 / 5:01 AM / 3 years ago

China stocks down at midday in thin trading; Hong Kong shares up

* CSI300 -0.24 pct; SSEC -0.15 pct; HSI +0.59 pct;

* Trading volume in Shanghai thin ahead of Lunar New Year

* China stocks may see consolidation for months - trader

SHANGHAI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - China stocks retreated early on Thursday despite fresh central bank moves to improve short-term liquidity, as investor confidence was not strong enough to extend a three-day winning streak for the main indexes.

Traders said the People's Bank of China has injected a net 205 billion yuan ($32.82 billion) into the money market this week, the biggest weekly injection since January.

And late on Wednesday, the central bank said it would increase credit to some financial institutions through a lending facility to ameliorate short-term cash shortages ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

"In addition to easing policies we see today, there could be further cuts in interest rates and reserve requirements ahead," said Wu Kan, head of equity trading at investment firm Shanshan Finance in Shanghai.

"But these tools are designed either to ease short-term liquidity, or cushion the impact of slower economic growth," he said. "Fundamentals of the economy remain poor."

Wu added that the market, which surged about 50 percent over the past few months, has entered a "consolidation period" that may last for three months.

The CSI300 index slipped 0.24 percent to 3425.71 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.15 percent.

But in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.59 percent, led by the financial sector as HSBC Holdings PLC rebounded after sharp falls the previous day.

Trading volume in Shanghai remained thin on Thursday, after a three-month low the previous day, reflecting investor caution and the proximity of the Lunar New Year holiday, analysts said.

Relatively inactive trading was also partly the result of a busy week for IPOs, as 24 companies are raising fresh capital, locking up an estimated 2 trillion yuan in the market.

China CNR , one of the country's biggest railway-industry firms, surged 8.11 percent in Shanghai and rose nearly 3 percent in Hong Kong after saying it was interested in buying foreign rail-linked technologies.

Shares of Beingmate Baby & Child Food Co Ltd jumped 5.7 percent after Fonterra Co-Operative Group of New Zealand submitted a tender offer for a stake of up to 20 percent in the Chinese infant-formula maker. GRAPHICS

New A-share account openings bit.ly/1wvJ9S9

China trading volumes hit records in 2014 link.reuters.com/vag73w

$1 = 6.2459 Chinese yuan Reporting by Samuel Shen, Pete Sweeney and the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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