* CSI300 +0.1 pct, SSEC -0.7 pct
* HSI +0.2 pct, HSCE +0.9 pct
* Mainland indexes recover from sharp near 3 pct drop in early trade
* Interest in small caps recovers after sharp dip Monday
* CSRC investigating trading manipulation in small caps
SHANGHAI, Dec 23 (Reuters) - China stocks were mixed by midday on Tuesday, recovering from a steep decline of nearly 3 percent in early trade as investors moved back into property and insurance shares, reflecting a recently familiar pattern of intense swings on mainland indexes.
Analysts said big-cap shares remain key drivers and sentiment is still bullish.
“The market is still a bull one despite the corrections,” said Zhang Yanbin, analysts at Zheshang Securities.
“Small-cap shares are mostly recovered from yesterday’s slump,” he added, referring to a sharp dive in small cap indexes in Shenzhen driven by reactions to a China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) announcement on Friday that 18 company shares, most of them in Shenzhen, were being illegally manipulated. The regulator did not name any perpetrators or suspects.
The CSI300 index tacked on 0.1 percent to 3,398.54 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.7 percent to 3,104.48 points.
China CSI300 stock index futures for January fell 0.3 percent, to 3,432.6, a spread of 34.1 points above the current value of the underlying index.
The Hang Seng index added 0.2 percent to 23,444.47 points.
The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.9 percent to 11,843.95.
“The Hong Kong index is driven by A-shares today,” said Alex Wong, director at Ample Finance Group in Hong Kong.
“People are chasing higher levels ... pushing many stocks into higher terrtories. That means people are feeling comfortable to hold stocks into the long weekend.”
Shares in Chinese real estate developer Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co Ltd are set for a flat trading debut in Hong Kong on Tuesday as concerns about debt and an aggressive valuation offset optimism over a rebound in China’s property market.
The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 123.30.
A value above 100 indicates Shanghai shares are pricing at a premium to shares in the same company trading in Hong Kong, and vice versa.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 27.23 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 9.87 billion shares.
Total trading volume of companies included in the the HSI index was 0.9 billion shares.
Reporting by Pete Sweeney, Chen Yixin and the Shanghai Newsroom