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China stocks set to end week flat amid regulation, economy woes

China stocks set to end week flat amid regulation, economy woes

SHANGHAI: China stocks were little changed on Friday and poised to end the week flat as a rebound triggered by policy gestures to ease liquidity concerns faded amid lingering worries over tighter regulation and economic growth. The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,399.47 points by mid-day break, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1 percent to 3,088.46. The market had posted five consecutive weeks of declines on concerns over Beijing’s stepped-up campaign against shadow banking and that efforts to de-leverage could sap liquidity and hurt the economy. Although market-friendly rhetoric from government officials last weekend helped drive an early-week rebound, sentiment turned bearish again. “Market sentiment remains fragile,” said Yang Hai, strategist at Kaiyuan Securities. “De-leveraging remains the direction of Beijing’s policy. Nothing has changed (after the rhetoric).”

Investors are also worried that China’s economy could witness renewed slowdown as a recovery – triggered mainly by government stimulus – peters out, Yang said. Indeed, an official survey published this week showed Chinese stock investors’ confidence fell for a second straight month in April, to the lowest in seven months, dented by economic concerns. Most sectors fell on Friday, with industrial and tech being the worst performers. Hong Kong stocks were firm on Friday, as Chinese money continues to flow into the city’s share market, while index heavyweight Tencent is on track to hit an all-time high. Sentiment was also aided by an overnight recovery on Wall Street amid political turbulence in Washington. The Hang Seng index added 0.3 percent to 25,215.45, while he Hong Kong China Enterprises Index was unchanged at 10,274.56. The indexes are poised to end the week up roughly 0.3 percent.