Chinese stocks rise on stimulus hopes after weak economic data

SHANGHAI, April 1 (Reuters) – Chinese stocks rose on Friday on expectations of stronger economic stimulus after data showed factory activity fell at the fastest pace in two years in March, while that tourism-related stocks led the gains ahead of the upcoming holiday.

The CSI300 index rose 1.1% to 4,270.89 points in late morning trading, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6% to 3,272.40 points.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.7% to 21,837.48 points. China’s Hong Kong Enterprise Index fell 0.8% to 7,467.66.

** The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which focuses more on small businesses in coastal regions, fell to 48.1 in March, broadly in line with the official PMI released on Thursday, while that the national resurgence of COVID-19 and the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine have weighed.

** Shanghai’s Chinese mall came to a halt on Friday after the government locked down most of the city’s 26 million residents to halt the spread of COVID-19, even as official figures showed a drop in cases for the second consecutive day.

**To some extent, negative headlines were priced in during the first quarter, said Yang Delong, chief economist at Shenzhen-based First Seafront Fund Management Co.

** Yang expects a potential market rebound in the second quarter.

** China’s CSI300 index fell 14.5% in the first three months of the year, its worst quarter since 2015.

** Government officials have pledged to roll out policies to stabilize the economy.

** Tourism and transportation stocks gained 4% and 5.2%, respectively, ahead of the Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday.

**Shanghai International Port Group jumped 10% after forecasting a 75.6% increase in net profit to 5.2 billion yuan ($819.90 million) for the first quarter.

**Banks rose 1.2% and consumer staples added 1.9%, while healthcare companies lost 1.4%.

**Hong Kong-listed tech companies extended losses, falling 1.7%, as concerns over US delisting persisted. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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