SHANGHAI: China stocks struggled for direction amid caution around a downtrend in the domestic economy stemming from the worst COVID-19 outbreak in two years, with investors awaiting further easing measures to boost sentiment and economy.
The CSI300 index rose 0.1% to 4,211.81 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1% to 3,234.82. The Hang Seng index dropped 0.6% to 21,684.44.
The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 1.1% to 7,412.64.
** "Range-bound sentiment continues amid concerns on macro recovery, COVID-19 management and tightening liquidity globally," Morgan Stanley said in a note. "Earnings estimate reductions further accelerated."
** Shares in healthcare, tourism and computers lost more than 1% each.
** While energy firms gained 1%, infrastructure companies added 1.2% and construction engineering stocks jumped 2.8%.
** China reported 1,576 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22,648 new asymptomatic cases on April 7.
** Economists now expect Beijing to take imminent monetary easing measures to prop up the economy and make sure China remains on track to hit its around 5.5% growth target for this year.
** Tech giants listed in Hong Kong fell 2.3% on worries over China-US relations, with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and food-delivery firm Meituan down 2.9% and 3.5%, respectively.
** China said on Thursday it would take strong measures if US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Chinese-claimed Taiwan on her trip, responding to reports she was planning to go.
** Pelosi's spokesman later in the day said the Democratic leader has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic, and the congressional delegation trip to Asia she had planned to lead has been postponed.
** "China shows willingness on collaboration on the audit dispute but more confirmation is needed from the US side," said Morgan Stanley analysts.
** The China Securities Regulatory Commission last week proposed revising confidentiality rules involving offshore listings, removing a legal hurdle to Sino-US cooperation on audit oversight.