7 de diciembre de 2016 / 5:14 / en un año

China stocks flat as investors watch regulatory moves; Hong Kong up

* SSEC +0.1 pct; CSI300 0.0 pct; HSI +0.4 pct

* Investors cautious amid signs of regulators’ tightening control

* Small-caps in mainland benefit from Shenzhen connect

SHANGHAI, Dec 7 (Reuters) - China shares were little changed on Wednesday morning, with lingering concerns that regulators aim to restrict some investments by insurers offsetting strength in small-cap and raw material stocks.

The Hong Kong stock market tracked Wall Street higher, lifted by banks and commodity plays.

The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,459.24 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.1 percent, to 3,202.98 points.

The benchmark Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent, to 22,754.26 points, and the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.5 percent, to 9,818.93 points.

Zhang Qi, analyst at Haitong Securities in Shanghai, said dampening mainland markets was profit-taking by some investors after moves by regulators.

“Investors don’t see opportunities in the short term,” he said.

Over the weekend, the chairman of China’s securities regulator condemned “barbaric” leveraged buy-outs by some asset managers using illegal funds.

On Monday, the insurance regulator punished one insurer and Tuesday it said it would send two inspection teams to check compliance at Foresea Life, a unit of financial conglomerate Baoneng Group, and Evergrande Life, the insurance arm of China Evergrande Group, in the latest effort to address financial risk worry fuelled by massive stake-buildings from insurers.

Blue-chips in China have tumbled about 2 percent this week.

On Wednesday, shares got some support from news that China’s local government pension fund is moving one step closer to investing in the stock market.

The market also gained support from small-caps on the third day of operation for the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect. Data on Hong Kong bourse website showed a net inflow of more than 600 million yuan ($87.12 million) to the Shenzhen market through the connect by midday.

Most main sectors in the mainland were down at the lunch break. But an index tracking consumer staples gained 0.8 percent.

Raw materials edged higher in both Hong Kong and the mainland, helped by strength in commodity prices. The most-traded rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange climbed to the highest since May 2014 at the end of the morning.

Financial stocks in the city were among the biggest gainers. Index heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC advanced 2.7 percent. ($1 = 6.8867 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Jackie Cai and John Ruwitch; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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