* SSEC down 2.9 pct, CSI300 off 2.4 pct
* Analysts see 1st tier property markets cannibalizing capital
* Earnings in high-growth stocks disappoint - analysts
* G20 seen as lacking substance (Updates index points)
By Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney
SHANGHAI Feb 29 (Reuters) - China stocks closed at their lowest levels in a month on Monday as growth stock earnings disappointed and investors brushed off optimistic statements from China’s policymakers at the weekend’s G20 summit of global financial leaders.
And while a rapid surge in property prices in China’s largest cities is supporting real estate counters, analysts say it could drive investors to switch out of stocks into property in the longer-run.
The blue-chip CSI300 index closed down 2.4 percent on Monday at 2,877.47 points, having touched the lowest level in nearly 15 months during intraday trade. A late-afternoon gain in banking shares helped the index narrow its losses.
The Shanghai Composite Index shed 2.9 percent, to 2,687.98 points, pressing against the intraday support level in late January around 2,638 points, and Hong Kong shares closed down 1.3 percent in line with their mainland counterparts.
“Money keeps flowing out of stocks, where investors see little reason to go upward further,” said Shen Weizheng, fund manager at Shanghai-based Ivy Capital, arguing that the “wealth effect” of investors moving their spare cash into cities such as Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou was diverting liquidity out of stocks.
At the same time, disappointing earnings reported by many small-cap growth stocks on the ChiNext index, which are popular with retail investors, have created wider investor concerns.
Monday’s slide adds to losses accrued during a sharp drop on Thursday, when indexes shed over 6 percent.
The sequence of falls onshore have already punched through the false bottom indexes found in late August, when Beijing mustered a “national team” of institutional investors to buy shares to restore a bull market.
The government’s response to market turmoil has thrown Beijing’s market management into question. While the government replaced the chief stock regulator earlier in the month, the leadership change has done little to restore confidence.
Having given up all the gains earned from the intervention, indexes are continuing to slide with the “national team” now widely believed to have given up supporting struggling markets.
This has raised investor uncertainty over where support for markets is likely.
Analysts blamed much of Monday’s drop on weekend news about Shanghai property, with media showing investors queuing up at government buildings to register new sales.
Key real estate indexes outperformed the wider market, but still ended the session slightly lower, with analysts warning that signs of overheating investment in first-tier property markets - in particular Shanghai and Shenzhen - signalled the beginning of a longer migration out of China’s volatile stocks back into property.
Official data showed home prices in the southern city of Shenzhen in January jumped 51.9 percent from a year earlier, followed by Shanghai with a 17.5 percent increase, even as prices in third- and fourth-tier cities dropped.
Investors were also dismayed by signs the shine was coming off the high-growth, high-tech stocks on China’s ChiNext Growth Board in Shenzhen, highly favoured by retail investors looking for quick profits.
Over 300 companies listed on ChiNext published their preliminary earnings results for 2015, causing that index to lose over 7 percent. Traders said data shows growth does not live up to investor expectations.
One such company, Shenzhen Tempus Global Business Service Holding, reported in its preliminary earnings statement that its 2015 profit grew 12.5 percent, below forecasts of around 30 percent.
“Profit growth is weak, and doesn’t justify current valuations, especially for small-caps,” said Samuel Chien, a partner of Shanghai-based hedge fund manager BoomTrend Investment Management Co.
“There’s still a big bubble in the stock market. Many shares are not worth that much.”
Although ChiNext has roughly halved from its June peak, the index still trades at 62 times companies’ earnings, about three times more expensive than its U.S. counterpart, the Nasdaq 100 .
Investors also complained that the G20 meeting held in Shanghai over the weekend lacked substance.
“The market is disappointed that there were no concrete agreements from the G20, just rhetoric,” said Chang Chenwei, analyst at Hengtai Futures.
Other financial markets in China were quiet, with the yuan staying flat in range-bound trade while key money rates rose slightly.
Editing by Sam Holmes