* CSI300 +0.3 pct; SSEC +0.4 pct; HSI -0.2 pct
* Banks edge lower on gloomy prospects
* Wanda’s HK property unit surges on privatisation plans
SHANGHAI, March 31 (Reuters) - China stocks held steady on Thursday morning after the previous session’s 2 percent jump, as markets took comfort in the likely prospect that U.S. interest rates will rise at a slower pace.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s remarks earlier in the week that the United States should proceed cautiously as it looks to raise rates continued to prop up market sentiment.
The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3 percent, to 3,226.72 points by the lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4 percent, to 3,011.53 points.
But the Hong Kong benchmark index was flat by midday, after hitting near three-month intraday highs. The Hang Seng index dropped 0.2 percent, to 20,768.73 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 percent, to 8,996.41.
Performance varied among sectors in China as investors digested a flood of earnings that came out this week.
The banking sector fell 0.4 percent, as three of China’s “Big Four” state-owned banks said they were bracing for slower economic growth this year, after they cut dividends and reported near-flat or falling quarterly profits on Wednesday.
But transportation shares jumped nearly 2 percent, reflecting optimism toward the sector.
Air China Ltd , China’s flagship airline, said on Wednesday its 2015 net profit jumped 77.5 percent, boosted by record low fuel prices and robust leisure and business travel demand.
Shares of Baoshan Iron and Steel Co. Ltd (Baosteel) was roughly flat, after a company executive said it would see its total steel production rise in 2016 as its huge Zhanjiang production base goes into operation, even though prices are expected to stay low.
In Hong Kong, shares of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co Ltd surged 18 percent, after disclosing that its parent Dalian Wanda Group was looking at taking the company private.
Reporting by Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Jacqueline Wong