SHANGHAI, March 6 (Reuters) - China stocks fell on Friday as investors digested comments by top officials that highlighted growth and debt challenges the country faces this year.
“To withstand the downward pressures, we must adopt an appropriately expansionary fiscal policy,” Finance Minister Lou Jiwei told the legislature on Friday. “We have to steadily deleverage, but must also prevent the economy from falling off a cliff.”
On Thursday, Premier Li Keqiang called annual economic growth of about 7 percent the “new normal”.
The CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 0.5 percent on Friday, to 3,478.52, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent, to 3,241.19 points.
On the week, the CSI300 was down 2.6 percent and the Shanghai Composite was down 2.1 percent.
Analysts saw the weak economic environment and the government’s policy stance as largely already priced into the market.
“The recent rate cut and economic data were long expected,” said Liu Jingde, an analyst at Cinda Securities in Beijing. “The valuation of banks and brokerages has already been corrected to their average levels.”
Among the most active stocks in Shanghai were Bank of China, up 0.8 percent to 3.83 yuan; CSR Corp , up 7.7 percent to 13.65 yuan and Baotou Steel , up 4.5 percent to 5.16 yuan.
In Shenzhen, TCL Corp, down 5.0 percent to 5.10 yuan; Dongxu Optoelec, up 8.1 percent to 10.98 yuan and BOE Technology, down 1.9 percent to 3.15 yuan were among the most actively traded.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 28.2 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 20.2 billion shares. (Reporting by Winni Zhou and Nathaniel Taplin; Editing by Richard Borsuk)