SHANGHAI, Dec 27 (Reuters) - China stocks weakened on Wednesday morning amid signs slowing economic growth and year-end liquidity tightness. Hong Kong shares rose slightly as the market reopened after the Christmas holiday. ** Earnings at China’s industrial firms grew at their slowest pace in seven months in November, official data showed. Separately, growth in wages and hiring slowed at industrial firms, according to a survey by the China Beige Book International (CBB).
** Meanwhile, benchmark rates in the banking systems keep climbing in signs of liquidity stress. The one-month Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (Shibor) climbed to 4.93 percent on Wednesday, the highest level since April, 2015. ** At 04:24 GMT, the Shanghai Composite index was down 4.34 points or 0.13 percent at 3,301.79. ** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.55 percent , with its financial sector sub-index lower by 0.85 percent , the consumer staples sector down 0.59 percent, the healthcare sub-index down 0.97 percent and real estate index up 0.03 percent. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.24 percent to 11,680.95 while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.03 percent at 29,586.32. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was unchanged for the day and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.17 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was up 0.18 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index advanced 0.10 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.5554 per U.S. dollar, 0.16 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.545. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Anhui Leimingkehua Co Ltd up 9.99 percent, followed by Baotailong New Materials Co Ltd gaining 8.19 percent and Wenyi Suntech Co Ltd up 7.82 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Shanghai AJ Group Co Ltd down 7.53 percent, Hainan HNA Infrastructure Investment Group Co Ltd off 7.08 percent and BOCO Inter-Telecom Co Ltd down 5 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 6.52 percent, while China’s H-share index is up 24.0 percent. Shanghai stocks have declined 0.33 percent this month. ** The top gainers among H-shares were CRRC Corp Ltd up 3.42 percent, followed by China Vanke Co Ltd gaining 3.01 percent and Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co Ltd up 2.76 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd off 2.23 percent, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd down 1.7 percent and China Telecom Corp Ltd 1.3 percent lower. ** About 9.01 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 58.2 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 15.48 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 14.24 billion as of the last full trading day. ** As of 04:24 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 30.33 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 14.87 as of the last full trading day while the dividend yield was 1.9 percent. ** So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Shanghai stock index has risen by 0.18 percent to 28.85 trillion yuan. ** In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares rose 1.8 percent while the IT sector fell 1.2 percent. The top gainer on Hang Seng was Country Garden Holdings Company Ltd up 6.42 percent, while the biggest loser was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd which was down 5.98 percent.
Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam