SHANGHAI, May 15 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks rebounded on Wednesday as weak industrial output and retail sales data reinforced expectations of fresh stimulus measures, while a slight softening in rhetoric from U.S. President Donald Trump eased trade worries.
** The CSI300 index rose 1.4 percent to 3,694.30 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.1 percent to 2,915.28 points.
** The Hang Seng index added 0.7 percent to 28,326.32 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.7 percent to 10,835.63. ** Growth in industrial output slowed more than expected to 5.4 percent in April from a year earlier, pulling back from a surprising strong 4-1/2-year high of 8.5% in March. Retail sales were also worse than expected, with the headline number rising 7.2%, the slowest pace since May 2003.
** The lacklustre April activity data, which also include shrinking exports and stumbling investment, increases “the likelihood of further policy easing”, Capital Economics wrote in a note.
** Fears of further escalating in trade tensions were slightly eased after Trump cited the trade war with China “a little squabble” and insisted talks between the world’s two largest economies had not collapsed.
** China’s CSI300 financial sector sub-index was higher by 1.29 percent, the consumer staples sector up 3.24 percent, the real estate index rose 1.61 percent and the healthcare sub-index climbed 1.42 percent. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.67 percent at 10,835.63, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.73 percent at 28,326.32. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 1.38 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index rose 1.28 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index climbed 0.56 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 0.17 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.8744 per U.S. dollar, 0.01 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.8753. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Shanghai Shentong Metro Co Ltd, which jumped 10.07 percent, followed by Zhongnongfa Seed Industry Group Co Ltd, which gained 10.06 percent and Jiangsu Nanfang Medical Co Ltd, which rose 10.03 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Sanan Optoelectronics Co Ltd, which fell 9.07 percent, followed by Aurora Optoelectronics Co Ltd, which lost 5.06 percent and Luenmei Quantum Co Ltd, which slipped 5.03 percent.
Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips