China, Hong Kong stocks fall as Beijing releases mixed Sept trade data
* CSI300 -0.4 pct; SSEC -0.3 pct; HSI -0.5 pct
* China exports fall 3.7 pct y/y in Sept, imports slump
* Investor confidence improves sharply in Sept - survey
SHANGHAI, Oct 13 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks retreated Tuesday morning on profit-taking following strong rebounds over the past sessions, with investors unimpressed by China's September trade data suggesting the economy remains under downward pressure.
Also weighing on the markets were energy stocks , which slumped on reports that China plans to cut natural gas prices by as much as 30 percent soon.
China's blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.4 percent, to 3,434.62 points by lunch time, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3 percent, to 3,277.66 points.
Newly-released data shows that China's exports fell 3.7 percent from a year earlier in September in dollar-denominated terms, while imports tumbled more than 20 percent.
Although export figures were stronger than expected, the slump in imports points to persistent weakness in the economy, heightening hopes of more stimulus ahead as Chinese leaders gather in Beijing later this month for a key meeting to iron out China's 13th "five-year" development plan.
But David Dai, Shanghai-based investor director at Nanhai Fund Management Co, said fears of a sharp slowdown have been largely priced in, and with the clean-up of illegal margin financing coming to an end, market sentiment is stabilizing. Continuación...