* CSI300 -0.1 pct; SSEC -0.2 pct; HSI +0.4 pct
* Monetary policy should remain stable, says head of PBOC
* C.bank gov’s comment reduces hopes for stimulus
By Sue-Lin Wong
SHANGHAI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - China’s stocks slipped early Thursday after a comment by the country’s central bank governor that monetary policy should remain “stable” disappointed investors wanting a policy move to help speed up growth.
The CSI300 index was off 0.1 percent, to 3,544.18 points at the end of the morning session, and the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.2 percent, to 3,317.01 points.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, People’s Bank of China chief Zhou Xiaochuan said there was no serious nationwide housing problem, so China should continue its neutral monetary policy.
Analysts say this disappointed Chinese investors hoping the PBOC will cut interest rates or reduce banks’ reserve ratio requirement (RRR).
“Zhou Xiaochuan’s indication that monetary policy should remain neutral has cooled the stock market,” said Li Zheming, an analyst at Datong Securities in Dalian.
“Investors are divided on the direction that the market is moving and are still cautious that regulators will tighten restrictions because of their crackdowns on margin trading and entrusted loan schemes,” said Li.
Zhou also urged stock market investors to focus on company fundamentals to avoid price bubbles.
“But Chinese investors don’t often focus on company fundamentals because they are more interested in government policy,” said Li.
The PBOC made its first injection in a year via seven-day reverse purchases agreements, but that was offset by cash demand ahead of a long holiday and shrugged off by the stock market. [ID:nL4N0V117J}
Finance and insurance stocks fell 11.4 points on the CSI300 index while the financial subindex dropped 0.5 percent and the bank index decreased 1.2 percent. Real estate was up 1.27 percent.
China CSI300 stock index futures for February rose 0.1 percent, to 3,557.6, or 13.42 points above the current value of the underlying index.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent, to 24,458.12 points.
The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 percent, to 12,050.09.
The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 129.38.
A value above 100 indicates Shanghai shares are pricing at a premium to shares in the same company trading in Hong Kong.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 20.31 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 10.80 billion shares.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 0.8 billion shares. (Additional reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Richard Borsuk)