SHANGHAI, Oct 29 (Reuters) - China stocks were mixed on Thursday as investors eyed weak financial sector earnings and subdued expectations for a rebound in manufacturing.
The CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,524.65 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent, to 3,379.38 points.
China CSI300 stock index futures for November at 3,418 was flat, 106.65 points below the current value of the underlying index.
Stocks rose modestly at the open but gave up some gains later in the morning as traders eyed ongoing weakness in manufacturing and disappointing third quarter results from the financial sector.
A Reuters poll found that economists expect China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) to edge up to 50 for October, better than September’s 49.8 reading but still indicative of tough conditions for the nation’s factories.
Readings above 50 for the PMI, an aggregrate measure taking account of factors such as new orders and employment, indicate expansion while readings below 50 indicate contraction.
The finance sector was once again a major drag on markets, as poor third quarter earnings continued to roll in. China Life Insurance Co Ltd, the nation’s largests insurer, said Wednesday evening that its third quarter net profit fell 74 percent on plunging investment income and rising claims.
Analysts suggested stocks had also gotten a small boost from the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates steady for the time being, following the October meeting of the open markets committee.
“The stock market was slightly buoyed by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates,” said Zheng Weigang, an analyst at Shanghai Securities in Shanghai.
“Yet the rebound was sluggish on investors’ concerns about the country’s sagging economy and lack of positive sectoral news.”
The Hang Seng index dropped 0.3 percent, to 22,881.90 points while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 1.3 percent, to 10,417.78.
The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 130.47.
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.
The northbound quota for the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect, currently set at 13 billion yuan, saw net outflows of 0.68 billion yuan.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 12.12 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 15.23 billion shares.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 0.9 billion shares.
China stock market graphics suite reut.rs/1NfkoGl
includes timeline of crash, PE ratios, market caps Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom and Nathaniel Taplin; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore