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SHANGHAI: Chinese A-shares ended lower on Tuesday as a tightening COVID-19 lockdown in the country’s most populous city weighed on growth outlook for the world’s second-largest economy, while strong gains by tech firms lifted Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index.

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.33% at 3,203.94.

The blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.35%, with its financial sector sub-index slipping 0.47%, while the consumer discretionary sector fell 1.23% and tech firms dropped 2%.

Trading was muted, with just 31.63 billion shares changing hands on the Shanghai exchange for the day, roughly 86.8% of the market’s 30-day moving average of 36.43 billion shares a day.

Shanghai, China’s financial centre, tightened the first phase of a two-stage COVID-19 lockdown on Tuesday, asking some residents to stay indoors unless they are getting tested as the number of daily cases rose beyond 4,400.

Losses were kept in check amid expectations that authorities could announce moves to support growth.

The state-owned Securities Times indicated that the central bank could reduce bank reserve requirements to support credit expansion and prop up economic growth.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index finished 1.12% higher at 21,927.63. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 1.58% to 7,513.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 2.2%, while the tech sector gained 2.52%.

Index heavyweight Meituan posted a second day of strong gains, finishing up 5.78% and lifting the broader index. The company reported better-than-expected growth in fourth-quarter revenue on Friday.

But the mainland properties index fell 2.18%, with Sunac China Holdings Ltd — the biggest H-share percentage decliner — tumbling 17.41%.

Sunac shares fell to a two-week low after the company said it would not be able to publish unaudited 2021 financial results by March 31. Its shares will be suspended from trading from April 1.

The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.57% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.056%.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.72%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1.1%.

At 0723 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.3691 per US dollar, 0.05% firmer than the previous close of 6.372.

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