SHANGHAI: China stocks fell on Friday as real estate sector woes continued to weigh on investor sentiment, while recent COVID-19 outbreaks in the country added to worries about the effect on the economy.
** The CSI300 index fell 0.6%, to 4,737.93 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6%, to 3,534.17 points.
** The Hang Seng index dropped 1.0%, to 24,179.16 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises index lost 1.5%, to 8,475.36.
** For the week, the CSI300 index was down 1.8%; the Hang Seng index is set to jump the most in 12 weeks, rising 2.9% as of the midday break.
** China's exports and imports grew more slowly in December, but exports came in just above expectations due to ongoing solid global demand.
** As the country battles with its latest local COVID-19 outbreaks, the eastern financial hub of Shanghai suspended some tourism activities. The tourism subindex declined 1.8%.
** "Recent COVID flare-ups in a few large cities are increasing the pressure on an already slowing economy," HSBC said in a note.
** "We now expect the central bank to add more stimulus by delivering a 10bp cut in key policy rates, most likely in the medium-term lending facilities (MLF) rate, which is most relevant to the real economy," HSBC added.
** Real estate developers dropped for the fourth straight session, as more cash-strapped developers scrambled to avert defaults or raise money.
** Investment banks and brokerages retreated 1.6%, with CITIC Securities down 2.7% following a share placement plan.
** Energy stocks lost 2.4%, with coal miners down 3%.
** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Tech index fell 1.8%, with Alibaba Group and Meituan down 3.8% and 4.2%, respectively, tracking Wall Street losses after hawkish US Federal Reserve remarks.
** China Evergrande Group added 1.2% as it secured a crucial approval from onshore bondholders to delay payments on one of its bonds.