China stocks tumble despite positive economic data
By Pete Sweeney
SHANGHAI, July 15 (Reuters) - The stock market recovery that began in China last week after a slew of government steps to halt a crash ran abruptly out of steam on Wednesday, with markets dropping sharply in afternoon trade despite surprisingly positive economic data.
The CSI300 index fell 4.5 percent to 3,926.54 points at 6:15 GMT, set for its biggest daily fall since July 8, when it closed down nearly 7 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 4.1 percent to 3,764.18 points.
The worsening sentiment caused index futures to go negative across the board. CSI300 stock index futures for July fell 5.1 percent, to 3,796.8, 129.74 points below the underlying index, while the small cap CSI500 index saw many contracts near their maximum 10 percent daily downside limit.
"Sentiment is still weak," said Du Changchun, analyst at Northeast Securities in Shanghai, noting that he believed most investors were selling to cash in on a brief, if sharp, rally that pushed up indexes over 10 percent last week.
"Non-market based rescue measures are having difficulty getting markets back on the right track in the near term."
Du was referring to steps Beijing has taken to halt a sharp collapse in main indexes, which have included requiring brokerages to buy up shares, cracking down on derivatives markets, including what traders say are deliberate attempts to force those with short positions to take losses, and freezing IPOs to avoid more drains on liquidity.
Standing behind these measures is the central bank, which is providing liquidity to stabilise the market.
The slide highlights the difficulty Beijing faces in restoring confidence in the stock market without signalling to investors that it is guaranteeing a zero-risk free-for-all, which would simply reinflate a rally that even regulators said had become too frothy. Continuación...