China stocks hit 7-yr high despite weak factory activity; Hong Kong also up
* CSI300 +0.2 pct; SSEC: 0.2 pct; HSI: 0.6 pct
* China April flash HSBC PMI contracts to one-year low
* Net flow into China's stock market totalled 781.4 billion yuan last week
By Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney
SHANGHAI, April 23 (Reuters) - China stocks advanced to fresh seven-year highs on Thursday as weaker-than-expected factory activity data reinforced expectations that Beijing will roll out more stimulus measures and keep the financial system flush with cash.
The flash HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) showed that China's factory activity in April contracted at its fastest pace in a year, suggesting that economic conditions are still deteriorating.
Investors also shrugged off the prospects of weaker company earnings. A Reuters survey showed that earnings growth at China-listed companies is likely to be the slowest in three years in 2015.
"No one cares about price/earnings ratios, or price/book ratios now. Investors only care about the attitude of the government, which has so far appeared tolerant (of the rise)," said Du Changchun, analyst at Northeast Securities in Shanghai.
"Upward momentum is still very strong, as money keeps flooding in. I don't dare to forecast the market's peak." Continuación...