* .SSEC -1.1 pct, .CSI300 -1.2 pct; .HSI -0.9 pct
* Local market falls on losses in Asia, reflects growth worries
* No boost from Xi’s speech; all eyes on key policy meeting
Hong Kong, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Stocks in China and Hong Kong fell across the board on Tuesday, tracking markets in Asia and the U.S., as Chinese investors gauge the impact of a slowdown in global economic growth. ** At midday, the Shanghai Composite index was down 1.1 percent at 2,569.65 points, while the blue-chip CSI300 index shed 1.2 percent. ** Stocks fell across the board. The CSI 300 financial sector sub-index was lower by 1.3 percent, the consumer staples sector down 1.1 percent, and the healthcare sub-index fell by 1 percent. ** Property led the fall among blue chips after local media reported that China could introduce a property tax legislation by 2020. The CSI 300 real estate sub index was down 3.4 percent. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was down 1.31 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.86 percent. ** In Hong Kong, H-shares fell 1.1 percent while the main Hang Seng Index was down 0.9 percent at 25,852.98. ** The slide came after Asian markets stumbled on the back of growth worries on Tuesday. MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.7 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 1.7 percent. ** Growth is also under pressure in China. Policy advisers are recommending leaders to lower next year’s growth target to 6.0-6.5 percent, as the trade war with Washington starts to bite. ** “The European Central Bank has cut its growth forecast, Bank of Korea adjusted recently,” as did the government of Japan, said Linus Yip, chief strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. “The reason why A-shares have not fallen more is because people are looking forward to policy support (from the Chinese government),” Yip added. ** In an anticipated speech on Tuesday marking four decades of Chinese reform, President Xi Jinping called for support of both the state and private sectors. Investors, however, will pay more attention ahead to annual Central Economic Work Conference, expected to be held later this week, for more granular details of the policy package, said Yip. ** The People’s Bank of China showed signs of loosening this week, conducting its first 14-day reverse repo operations since late September. It also vowed to guide reasonable growth of credit and social financing and further improve the monetary policy transmission channel. ** Investors believe loosening will provide “support for the equity market, and that they should watch for opportunities in the market rebounding, and pay appropriate attention to high dividend strategies,” Tian Ming, analyst at Minsheng Securities, said in a memo on Tuesday. But the market is likely to be volatile in the near term as liquidity tightens towards year-end, Tian added. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Jinzhou Jixiang Moly Co Ltd, down almost 10 percent, followed by Fujian Raynen Technology Co Ltd, losing 8.9 percent and Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical Co Ltd , down 7.7 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were China Resources Land Ltd, which has fallen 3.9 percent, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, which has lost 3.7 percent and Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, down by 3.4 percent. ** At midday, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 18.7 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.
Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Sunil Nair