August 16, 2017 / 7:13 AM / a year ago

Weak lending data hits Chinese stocks, but tech rallies

SHANGHAI, Aug 16 (Reuters) - China stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investor sentiment was undermined by concerns over weakening economic growth, but losses were kept in check by solid gains for tech shares.

The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.1 percent, to 3,701.42, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1 percent, to 3,246.62 points.

China CSI300 stock index futures for August rose 0.1 percent, to 3,690.8, 10.77 points below the current value of the underlying index.

China’s new loans in July fell to their lowest in 8 months, reinforcing views economic activity will slow in the second half.

But with broad consensus pointing to a gradual slowdown in the economy, and not a sharp deceleration, some market watchers said concerns over cooling growth had not led to heavy selling pressure.

“The data that shows slowing is related to the results of government macro policies, but this doesn’t translate into pessimism,” said Bo Huang, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Hong Kong.

There was little pessimism around technology companies, which had helped to power the CSI300 to a 1.3-percent gain on Monday. The nine best-performing components of the CSI300 index were all technology firms.

The tech-heavy ChiNext board gained 1.5 percent for the day.

Wangsu Science & Technology Co., which provides content delivery and internet data center services, gained 6.8 percent. Voice recognition software firm iFlytek Co Ltd came within 0.44 yuan of its record high in May 2015 before giving up some ground to close up 5.8 percent.

Despite the tech gains, materials and healthcare firms weighed on the index.

Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd lost 2.0 percent and Zijin Mining Group Ltd lost 1.6 percent.

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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