SHANGHAI: China’s main stock indexes were little changed on Monday, as investors awaited fresh catalysts ahead of a burst of data due over the next week. The blue-chip CSI300 index <.CSI300> fell 0.1 percent, to 3,653.69 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index <.SSEC> slipped 0.2 percent to 3,212.63 points. Small-caps far underperformed, with the start-up board ChiNext <.CHINEXTP> sliding 1.8 percent, after the securities regulator approved more initial public offerings (IPOs) over the weekend, raising fears the pace of listings could accelerate. Eight newly-listed stock tumbled the maximum allowed 10 percent. Markets shrugged off China’s June inflation data, which met expectations and did little to alter the view that economic growth is cooling after a solid first quarter. June consumer prices rose 1.5 percent from a year earlier.
Capital Economics China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said that “with slowing credit growth likely to weigh on economic activity in coming quarters… inflation will start falling again before long”. In comments on Friday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was sanguine about the outlook even as he acknowledged the economy still faced many difficulties. Most economists expect growth to cool in the next few quarters as the key real estate sector slows, while Beijing’s crack down on debt risks raises financing costs in a generally tighter funding environment.
On July 17, China will release second-quarter gross domestic product(GDP), along with June industrial output, retail sales and January-June fixed asset investment. UBS Securities analyst Gao Ting said that after stellar gains in certain sectors such as consumer, investor views have started to diverge. Some investors see “limited upside for quality consumer stocks as valuations touch five-year highs after substantial YTD gains, while others remain upbeat on the re-rating potential of leading players,” he said.