July 19, 2016 / 6:26 AM / 2 years ago

China stocks fall at midday as yuan, economic uncertainty weigh

* CSI -0.8 pct, SSEC -0.7 pct, HSI -0.6 pct

* Analysts say Chinese outlook for 2H still cloudy

* Profit taking weighs on HSI

By Nathaniel Taplin

SHANGHAI, July 19 (Reuters) - China stocks fell on Tuesday as investors eyed continued economic uncertainty in crucial sectors such as housing and as the yuan hovered just above a psychologically important support level.

The CSI300 index fell 0.8 percent to 3,236.30 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.7 percent to 3,021.95 points.

Analysts said the recent upside surprise in second quarter GDP last week has failed to reassure equity investors eyeing slowing housing price growth and continued uncertainty around capital outflows, trade and other factors, which have been weighing on the yuan.

The yuan slipped below the 6.7 to the dollar for the first time in more than five years late Monday but recovered some of its losses on Tuesday.

“The second quarter growth figure came in slightly better than expected, but there is still a lot of uncertainty about the outlook for the second half,” said Steven Leung, director at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.

“It’s not easy for the China market to move above 3,000 without some fundamental improvement.”

The Shanghai Composite fell below the key level of 3,000 in early January and has struggled to sustain a recovery above it for most of the year, with a previous breakout stalling in April.

China CSI300 stock index futures for August fell 1.0 percent on Tuesday to 3,198, 38.30 points below the current value of the underlying index.

The Hang Seng index dropped 0.6 percent, to 21,666.40 points, in what Leung said was likely be profit taking after the index posted its best weekly performance in more than a year last week.

Global equities have risen in recent weeks amid dovish indications from central banks, including the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June.

“Overall sentiment is quite positive,” said Leung. “I expect the HSI can move a bit higher and challenge 22,000.”

The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.9 percent, to 9,007.81.

The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 128.23. An index reading above 100 indicates Shanghai shares are at a premium to shares in their listed counterpart in Hong Kong.

The northbound quota for the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect, currently set at 13 billion yuan, saw net inflows of 0.34 billion yuan. Total trading volume of companies included in the HSI index was 0.6 billion shares.

On the mainland, volumes were relatively tepid, with A share volume in Shanghai at 8.44 billion shares, below an average of around 10 billion in the morning over the previous three sessions. In Shenzhen, volumes were 10.83 billion shares.

Editing by Sam Holmes

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