SHANGHAI: Chinese blue-chip shares declined on Wednesday, as resurgent COVID-19 cases weighed on the consumer sector, while Shanghai stocks edged higher, lifted by construction-related companies.
The CSI300 index fell 0.3% to 5,034.67 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1% to 3,664.19.
The Hang Seng index added 0.2% to 23,684.94. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.1% to 8,411.40.
** China's factory output grew faster than expected in November, supported by stronger energy production and a moderation in raw material prices, but retail sales slowed as new COVID-19 outbreaks hit the world's second-largest economy.
** China's central bank injected funds into the financial system through medium-term loans, while keeping the interest rate unchanged for the 20th straight month.
** Consumer staples lost 1.4% amid resurgent COVID-19 cases and China's zero-tolerance policy that hurt domestic consumption. The latest outbreak has disrupted activities in parts of China's biggest manufacturing hubs.
** Healthcare companies retreated 0.8%, with biotech firm BeiGene Ltd plunging nearly 13% in its Shanghai debut.
** The construction engineering subindex surged 2.6%. China will promote southwestern Chengdu-Chongqing "twin city" region with total investment of about 2 trillion yuan ($314.2 billion) next year.
** Chinese real estate developers listed in mainland and Hong Kong rebounded around 1.3% each, after both indexes slumped in previous session as woes in property developer Shimao Group rekindled worries in China's property sector.
** Coal miners gained 1.9% after China's coal output hit a record high in November.
** Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index edged up as index heavyweight Alibaba Group rose 3.4%, the biggest point contributor to the gauge.
** However, the Hang Seng Tech Index lost 0.5%, with Meituan down 1%.
** Developer Shimao Group extended losses to a fourth session, down 2.5% at the noon break.