July 11, 2019 / 7:51 AM / a month ago

China stocks inch higher on policy easing hopes; economic worries weigh

* Shanghai shares add 0.1%, blue chips close flat

* China 2019 growth seen slowing to 6.2%; policy support expected

* Fed chair fans hopes for July rate cut; Wall Street, Asia rally

HONG KONG, July 11 (Reuters) - China stocks ticked up on Thursday as global central banks look poised to ease policies, while concerns about a slowdown in the country’s economic growth weighed on investor sentiment.

** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.1% at 2,917.76. The blue-chip CSI300 index was flat. ** CSI300’s financial sector sub-index was higher by 0.1%, the consumer staples sector fell 0.2%, while the healthcare sub-index eased 0.3%. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.1%, while the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.2%. ** China will release its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data on Monday, July 15. ** Growth is expected to slow to a near 30-year low of 6.2% this year, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday, despite a flurry of support measures to spur domestic demand to offset the trade war’s impact. Some economists said they expected Beijing to roll out more stimulus soon to ward off a sharper slowdown. ** China will stabilise trade by reducing tariffs, improving export tax rebate policies and cutting insurance fees for export companies, state media reported on Wednesday, citing a state council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. ** Citic Securities analysts expect policy support to tame the economy’s slowdown in the second half. They said in a note on Thursday that there was “more certainty on infrastructure (spending) accelerating, (which) can offset some of the downward pressure on industrial production prices.” ** Analysts say the central bank could cut its benchmark policy rate for the first time in four years if the U.S. Federal Reserve delivers a widely expected cut in late July, as Chinese policymakers step up support for the slowing economy. ** U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday paved the way for the first U.S. interest rate cut in a decade later this month, pledging to ‘act as appropriate’ to defend an economic expansion threatened by trade disputes and a global slowdown. ** Shares raced higher around the region. MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.5%. The S&P 500 briefly crossed the 3,000-point mark for the first time overnight on Powell’s remarks. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Taiyuan Chemical Industry Co Ltd and Geo-Jade Petroleum Corp, up 10.1% each, and Jiangsu Chengxing Phosph-Chemical Co Ltd, up 10%. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up almost 17% and the CSI300 has risen 25.7%. Shanghai stocks have declined 2.1% so far this month. ** About 14.37 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange. The volume in the previous trading session was 13.55 billion. ** The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day moving average and above its 200-day moving average. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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