China stocks fall on tech shares; Hong Kong mixed

Investors watch the stock trading board, as the board is reflected on a counter top, at a securities exchange house in Shanghai, China. (Bloomberg pic)

SHANGHAI: China stocks fell on Thursday morning, as Shenzhen’s start-up board ChiNext dropped sharply amid signs Shanghai will soon kick off a competing technology board that will potentially divert funds.

The CSI300 index fell 0.2%, to 3,589.90 points, at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5%, to 2,848.34 points.

The Hang Seng index added 0.2%, to 26,953.88 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.2%, to 10,327.64.

Shenzhen’s ChiNext plunged 1.6% to a 3-month low, souring sentiment on the mainland. Late on Wednesday, the Shanghai Stock Exchange gave approval to three companies that seek to list on Shanghai’s Science & Technology Innovation board, signalling an imminent launch of the new marketplace.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2019 economic growth forecast for China to 6.2% from 6.3% on heightened uncertainty around trade frictions.

Meanwhile, shares in China’s 5G-related firms slumped, as investors pocketed gains after news that Beijing granted 5G licences to major carriers. An index tracking China’s telecommunication service shares fell over 3%.

The dual-listed ZTE fell more than 3% each in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Investors also dumped shares in Huawei suppliers, including China-listed Shengyi Technology Co Ltd and Hong Kong-listed Sunny Optical Technology, following a report that the Chinese tech giant cut orders to key suppliers after U.S. blacklisting.

China’s CSI300 financial sector sub-index was higher by 0.31%, the consumer staples sector down 0.73%, the real estate index up 0.05% and the healthcare sub-index was down 0.91%.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.11%, while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 0.26%.

The yuan was quoted at 6.913 per U.S. dollar, 0.06% weaker than the previous close of 6.909.

In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares dipped 1.8%, while the IT sector fell 0.4%. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Sino Land Co Ltd, up 2.38%, while the biggest loser was CNOOC Ltd, which was down 3.23%.