May 27, 2016 / 4:46 AM / in 2 years

China, Hong Kong stocks fall as China industrial profit growth slows

* CSI300 -0.3 pct; SSEC -0.3 pct; HSI -0.1 pct

* Profit growth at China’s industrial firms slowed in April

* Lenovo shares fall after reporting first loss in six years

SHANGHAI, May 27 (Reuters) - China stocks slipped on Friday as April industrial profit data added to concerns that a recent pick-up in the economy may be short-lived.

Both China’s blue-chip CSI300 index and the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3 percent, to 3,055.29 points and 2,814.03 points, respectively. They looked set to end the week fractionally lower.

Hong Kong shares also eased, despite gains in most Asian markets, with light trading indicating investor caution after Wednesday’s jump of more than 2 percent.

The Hang Seng index and the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index both dipped 0.1 percent.

Many investors remained on the sidelines, worried about China’s economic health and the impact of a possible U.S. rate hike next month.

Profit growth at China’s industrial firms slowed in April, in line with other data for the month which suggested the economy may be losing steam again after picking up earlier in the year.

“We expect underlying industrial profit growth to slow further in May, but in a gradual manner, as industrial production growth likely slows and producer price deflation likely narrows,” economists at Nomura said in a research note.

The People’s Bank of China will keep policy slightly loose to support the economy, which still faces downward pressure, the China Business News said on Thursday, citing a report written by the central bank’s monetary policy analysis team.

Global financial markets have been buzzing over whether China is shifting to a more cautious policy stance since an article in the official People’s Daily early this month.

The article quoted an “authoritative person” as saying China may suffer a financial crisis or recession if the government relies too much on debt-fuelled stimulus to boost flagging economic growth.

Chinese investors fear that means policymakers are taking their foot off the gas after a more than one-year long stimulus blitz, but most economists believe continued fiscal and monetary support is needed because the economy is not yet on a firm footing.

Most sectors in China and Hong Kong fell.

Lenovo Group Ltd (0992.HK) lost 3 percent, after the world’s biggest maker of personal computers reported its first loss in six years, hit by exceptional acquisition and restructuring costs as well as weak sales for its smartphones business.

Reporting by Samuel Shen and Pete Sweeney; Editing by Kim Coghill

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