SHANGHAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks rose on Thursday morning, on investor optimism over Beijing’s plans to deepen structural reforms and curb financial risks while maintaining steady economic growth in 2018.
** This was in contrast to subdued Asian equity markets that took their cue from a weaker Wall Street, as the passage of U.S. tax cuts was seen largely factored into share prices.
** The Chinese government will push forward with structural supply-side reform and maintain prudent, neutral monetary policy next year as it looks to improve the quality of growth, the Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, citing top leaders at a key economic planning meeting.
** At 04:10 GMT, the Shanghai Composite index was up 15.69 points or 0.48 percent at 3,303.29. China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.97 percent.
** China’s major raw materials firms, which will benefit from further supply-side reforms, posted robust growth, while healthcare and consumer stocks also gained. Meanwhile, the government’s pledge to reduce risks in the financial system gave a boost to banking shares .
** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.91 percent to 11,610.06 while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.49 percent at 29,378.70. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.55 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.28 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.04 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.05 percent . ** The yuan was quoted at 6.571 per U.S. dollar, 0.1 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.5775. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Wuxi Taiji Industry Co Ltd up 6.06 percent, followed by Poly Real Estate Group Co Ltd gaining 5.87 percent and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd up by 5.09 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Guizhou Yibai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd down 7.54 percent, followed by Wenyi Suntech Co Ltd losing 5.25 percent and Hebei Jinniu Chemical Industry Co Ltd down by 4.83 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 5.93 percent, while China’s H-share index is up 22.5 percent. Shanghai stocks have declined 0.89 percent this month. ** The top gainers among H-shares were China Merchants Bank Co Ltd up 2.64 percent, followed by China Vanke Co Ltd gaining 2.51 percent and China Communications Construction Co Ltd up by 2.46 percent. ** The three biggest H-share percentage decliners were Air China Ltd which has fallen 2.50 percent, Great Wall Motor Co Ltd which has lost 1.4 percent and CRRC Corp Ltd down by 1.2 percent. ** About 8.11 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 50.3 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 16.13 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 13.77 billion as of the last full trading day. ** As of 04:10 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 31.28 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day moving average and above its 200-day moving average. ** The price-to-earnings ratio of the Shanghai index was 14.78 as of the last full trading day while the dividend yield was 2 percent. ** So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Shanghai stock index has risen by 0.90 percent to 28.71 trillion yuan. ** In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares rose 1.1 percent while the IT sector rose 1.1 percent. The top gainer on Hang Seng was Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd up 2.43 percent, while the biggest loser was Wharf Real Estate Investment Co Ltd which was down 1.90 percent.
Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Jacqueline Wong