China stocks end lower as material, property shares weigh

China stocks end lower as material, property shares weigh

BEIJING/SHANGHAI: China stocks ended lower on Wednesday, led by losses in material and property shares, as investors shrugged off data showing manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March.

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.43 per cent at 3,441.91, and the blue-chip CSI300 index slipped 0.91 per cent. The benchmark index lost 1.9 per cent in March, marking its first monthly loss in six months, while the blue-chip index lost 5.4 per cent this month, marking its worst monthly performance in a year.

Material and property shares led losses during the session, with the real estate index down 1.76 per cent and the material sub-index down 2.62 per cent.

Shares of Chinese developer China Vanke Co fell 4.37 per cent and pressured the real estate sector, as analysts cut their earnings forecasts after the company’s annual results. Its Hong Kong-listed shares fell around 6 per cent.

The pullback in stocks comes after a recent three-day rally boosted by corporate earnings, with northbound outflows via the Stock Connect hitting 5.5 billion yuan ($839.07 million) on Wednesday, according to Refinitiv data.

On the economic front, the official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 51.9 from 50.6 in February as factories cranked up production after a brief lull during the Lunar New Year holidays, with improving global demand adding further momentum to a solid economic recovery.

The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.52 per cent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.463 per cent.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.31 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.86 per cent. ($1 = 6.5549 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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