* CSI300 -0.3 pct; SSEC -0.3 pct; HSI +1.4 pct
* CSRC Vice Chairman says China doesn’t seek to devalue the yuan
* Heng Seng trades at P/B ratio of 1.07, while HSCE trades at 0.9
SHANGHAI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - China stocks surrendered initial gains and ended Friday lower, threatening to hit fresh two-year lows amid extremely weak investor sentiment.
But Hong Kong shares bounced over 1 percent, led by energy shares, as investors took cues from a sharp overnight rebound in global equity markets and oil prices.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index dipped 0.3 percent, to 3,073.28 points by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index also lost 0.3 percent, to 2,872.42 points.
CSI300 is down roughly 1.5 percent so far this week, while SSEC is about 1 percent lower, while trading volume is thin.
Yu Jun, partner at hedge fund manager He Ju Investment, said that the market is in a “risk-off” mode, amid fears of economic slowdown, further yuan depreciation, and a possible share supply glut due to impending reform of initial public offerings.
“We’ll likely witness a lot of volatility in the first half of the year,” Yu said. “Investors are waiting for more clarity, and certainty.”
In an apparent attempt to ease market concerns, Fang Xinghai, the vice chair of the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission, sought to counter concerns China was seeking to devalue the yuan to gain a competitive advantage for its exports.
“A depreciation is not in the interests of China’s rebalancing; a too-deep currency fall would not be good for consumption,” Xinghai said at the World Economic forum.
Most sectors fell on Friday, with sharp falls seen in transportation shares.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 1.4 percent, to 18,804.10 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.8 percent, to 7,973.83.
Hang Seng currently trades at 1.07 times companies’ book value, when HSCE trades at a P/B ratio of 0.9, meaning that on average, HSCE’s constituents trade below their net asset value.
Analysts say that the indexes’ valuations have been dragged lower by Chinese heavyweights such as state-owned lenders and steelmakers, whose business prospects are worrying.
But on Friday, all main sectors were up, with an index tracking energy shares surging 3.5 percent on a recovery in oil prices.
Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Eric Meijer