* CSI300 flat; SSEC +0.1; HSI flat
* Investors see little fresh money moving into stocks
* Transport stocks up on CNR-CSR merger; brokerages up
SHANGHAI, March 6 (Reuters) - China stocks were mixed on Friday morning, as investors appeared uninspired by the economic outlook presented at the country’s annual parliamentary meeting, where the premier called slower growth the “new normal”.
The government this year plans to step up spending and have its biggest budget deficit since the global financial crisis. On Thursday, Premier Li Keqiang announced a growth target of around 7 percent.
“The central bank needs more monetary easing measures to spur growth, ” said Liu Haiying, chief economist at Shanghai-based hedge fund manager Capital Edge Investment Management Co.
But he said there’s no certainty injecting liquidity will prompt companies to borrow more for investment because “as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”
Liu said the economy may be growing more slowly than what GDP data has indicated. For 2014, China reported 7.4 percent growth.
With no upside surprises from policymakers, there is little sign of fresh money flowing into the stock market, according to Wu Wenzhe, fund manager of China International Fund Management.
The CSI300 index was flat at 3,495.66 points at the end of the morning , while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent, to 3,252.57 points. The Hang Seng index was also flat.
Shenzhen’s ChiNext, which tracks high-growth start-ups, fell more than 2 percent, taking a break after a recent surge.
Most transportation-related stocks rose, led by train making giants China CNR Corp Ltd and CSR Corp . Both jumped around 5 percent in Shanghai on Friday on news their merger plan received regulatory approval.
Brokerages were broadly up on hopes China’s commitment to capital market deregulation and reform would stimulate business.
Charles Li, CEO of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEx), said on Thursday the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect scheme will get a further boost when equity derivatives and commodities are added in the second half.
A broadening of the scheme, which allows investors in mainland China to buy Hong Kong shares and vice versa, would increase trading commissions for both mainland and Hong Kong-based brokerages.
Brokerage shares also drew some support from remarks by China’s top securities regulator Xiao Gang, who told a Chinese newspaper on Thursday that China plans to allow unprofitable companies to sell shares publicly, potentially broadening brokerages’ client base and increase investment banking revenue. (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Richard Borsuk)