Property rebound lifts China shares off one-week low

Wed Mar 5, 2014 11:56pm EST

Related Topics

* HSI, H-shares +0.5 pct; CSI300 flat, Shanghai Comp -0.1 pct

* Comments at parliament meeting stoke growth worry

* Property A-shares up on hopes home-price falls will be limited

* Tencent hits record after China Unicom cooperation agreement

By Clement Tan

HONG KONG, March 6 (Reuters) - China shares fell to their lowest levels in a week early Thursday, then rebounded and boosted Hong Kong markets as property stocks gained on hopes steps will be taken to limit mainland home-price declines.

From now until March 13, mainland markets could be affected by comments and policy announcements made at China's annual parliamentary meetings, which started on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, for example, comments from the country's finance minister stoked worries that lower growth rates than the stated 7.5 percent target for 2014 would be tolerated. That briefly accelerated losses in growth-sensitive sectors other than property.

"People are talking a lot whether we will actually achieve the target growth rate, given Beijing's determination to reform, tighter liquidity and lower fixed asset investment," said Cao Xuefeng, a Chengdu-based analyst with Huaxi Securities.

"That's why the markets will remain vulnerable to comments streaming out of the ongoing meetings in Beijing for any more clarity on how the government plans to execute its policy goals," Cao added.

The Shanghai Composite Index went into the midday trading break down 0.1 percent after earlier falling as much as 1.1 percent. The CSI300 of the largest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings was flat.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent to 22,688.3 points, while the China Enterprises Index of the leading offshore Chinese listings in Hong Kong also climbed 0.5 percent.

Chinese property developers listed in the mainland climbed as investors cheered a China Business News report quoting People's Bank of China advisor Chen Yulu as saying China should start preparing for falling property prices in smaller cities, with an eye to keeping prices stable for the next 10 years.

China Vanke spiked 4.7 percent in Shenzhen and has now erased an 11 percent tumble between Feb. 19 and Feb. 25. Poly Real Estate rose 2.6 percent in Shanghai, helping the Shanghai property sub-index climb 1.2 percent.

In Hong Kong though, China Resources Land sank 0.8 percent, Greentown China was off 1.7 percent and Longfor Property 1.9 percent.

The Chinese vice-minister for housing and urban development said on Thursday that the government will strive to increase housing supply in cities where home prices are rising the most.

Environmental plays saw some of the day's more robust gains after China Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Wednesday to wage "war" on pollution in his opening address to the National People's Congress.

Alternate energy providers China Longyuan and Huaneng Renewables each spiked more than 3 percent in Hong Kong. Beijing Enterprises Water climbed 3.3 percent, while China Everbright International jumped 4.3 percent.

Tencent Holdings gained 1.9 percent to another record high after announcing plans to cooperate with China Unicom. The Chinese internet giant announced earlier this week that it would open its WeChat payment program to all qualified merchants.

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