* CSI300 -0.2 pct; SSEC flat; HSI -0.7 pct
* ChiNext surges to record after regulator denies crackdown
* Property shares fall after April home price data
By Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney
SHANGHAI, May 18 (Reuters) - China stocks were flat on Monday morning ahead of a fresh wave of new share sales this week, with Nasdaq-style board ChiNext in the limelight as it scaled to new heights.
ChiNext, the Shenzhen-based start-up board, jumped 3.5 percent to record highs, after China’s securities regulator on Friday denied media reports that it was urging fund managers to reduce holdings of ChiNext stocks.
“Most of the investors in the mainland believe that if you want to make big money, you have to look for the next-generation stocks...and smaller names, as they’re the ones with hyper growth, and not subject so much to the (slowing) macro economy,” said Arthur Kwong, head of Asia Pacific equities at BNP Paribas Investment Partners.
“Micro stories could be attractive...but the question mark, the big debate is how much (earnings) multiple you’re going to give.”
A recent burst in buying has pushed the ChiNext index to more than 100 times earnings.
But big-cap stocks were under pressure as 20 companies are set to launch initial public offerings (IPOs) this week, which analysts estimate will freeze around 3 trillion yuan ($483.6 billion) of subscription capital.
Tuesday will be the busiest day of the week for IPOs, with 12 companies, including budget airline operator Juneyao and drug maker Zhejiang Huatong Medicines starting to take subscriptions. That means some investors need to sell existing shares for cash to participate in IPO subscriptions.
The CSI300 index fell 0.2 percent, to 4,609.26 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 4,309.69 points.
Hong Kong stocks lost ground. The Hang Seng index dropped 0.7 percent, to 27,616.77 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.6 percent, to 13,926.81.
Most China-listed property shares fell, dampened by April data showing China’s new home prices fell for the eighth consecutive month from a year earlier.
Although home prices were flat from March, offering some hope that the sector could be bottoming out, analysts warned any recovery in the market will take some time, given a huge inventory of unsold homes and a slump in real estate investment growth to the lowest levels since the global financial crisis.
All five newly-listed stocks in China, including Wuxi Lead Auto Equipment Co Ltd and Zhejiang Goldensea Environment Technology surged by their maximum 44 percent limit on Monday, following the usual pattern of first-day pops in prices.
$1 = 6.2030 Chinese yuan Editing by Jacqueline Wong