January 19, 2017 / 7:13 AM / 2 years ago

China stocks end lower, big-cap state firms drag

SHANGHAI, Jan 19 (Reuters) - China stocks fell on Thursday, with energy and infrastructure companies weaker after a price correction this week and as investors remained cautious ahead of the Lunar New Year.

The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.3 percent, to 3,329.29 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 percent to 3,101.30 points.

The retreat was led by big-cap state-owned enterprises (SOE), in particular China United Network Communications , seen as a key barometer of the SOE reform theme.

China United Network Communications slumped 5.1 percent to near a two-month low. The stock has retreated 22 percent from a 16-month high in late December.

Investors remained cautious as many participants expected the sharp rally on Tuesday to be short-lived ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when trading could be thin give low participation and expectations of tighter liquidity in the country’s financial system.

The onshore overnight implied deposit rate for yuan jumped to 22.035 percent on Wednesday, the highest since data became available in April 2007. On Tuesday, the rate ended at 4.357 percent.

Most sectors lost ground, led by energy and infrastructure shares.

China’s start-up index ChiNext, in the spotlight after it suffered sharp falls recently, was basically flat for the day. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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