SHANGHAI, Jan 23 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong shares were firmer by midday on Friday, propped up by rising expectations the Chinese central bank will move to ease liquidity to support the flagging economy.
The European Central Bank’s 1 trillion euro rescue plan on Thursday also helped both markets extend gains from a steep fall on Monday, although analysts said that factor had been largely priced in.
A recent batch of weak Chinese economic indicators, including a manufacturing activity survey on Friday, raised the prospect Beijing will roll out more measures.
China’s manufacturing growth stalled for the second straight month in January and companies had to cut prices at a faster clip to win new business, the HSBC/Markit Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index survey showed.
The CSI300 index rose 1.3 percent, to 3,615.09 points at the end of the morning session while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.4 percent, to 3,389.92 points.
The Shanghai index has been notching weekly gains since early November, and is currently up 0.4 percent for the week. The CSI index is down 0.5 percent for the week so far.
“The market has been rising for the past few days and today we are seeing the trend continue among large caps,” said Tian Weidong, head of research at Kaiyuan Securities in Xi‘an.
“Although the ECB announcement is good news, Chinese investors are cautious leading up to the weekend, particularly after last Friday’s crackdown,” Tian said, referring to government measures to curb speculative trading.
Chinese regulators cracked down on illegal margin trading last Friday, causing the Chinese share market to suffer its biggest one-day tumble since the global financial crisis on Monday.
China CSI300 stock index futures for February rose 1.8 percent, to 3,639, 23.91 points above the current value of the underlying index.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 1.3 percent, to 24,831.27 points, and is up about 3 percent for the week.
The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.6 percent, to 12,244.72.
“People expected the QE (quantitative easing) so the rise in the market isn’t that great,” said Alex Wong, director of Ample Finance Group.
The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 130.99.
A value above 100 indicates Shanghai shares are pricing at a premium to shares in the same company trading in Hong Kong, and vice versa.
Total volume of A shares traded in Shanghai was 20.37 billion shares, while Shenzhen volume was 10.20 billion shares.
Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 1.1 billion shares.
Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Jacqueline Wong