China, Hong Kong stocks climb as dismal data feeds hopes of stimulus against virus

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* SSEC 1.4%, CSI300 1.6%, HSI 1.2%

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 5.2%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 1.3%

* FTSE China A50 +1.6%

SHANGHAI, March 27 (Reuters) – China and Hong Kong stocks rose on Friday as dismal industrial data reinforced expectations of further stimulus to shield the world’s second-largest economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

** The CSI300 index rose 1.6% to 3,757.10 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.4% to 2,803.99 points.

** The Hang Seng index climbed 1.2% to 23,634.14 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.6% to 9,594.65.

** Profits at China’s industrial firms slumped in the first two months of the year to their lowest in at least a decade, with the mining, manufacturing and power sectors all seeing sharp falls as the virus outbreak battered China’s economy.

** “The profit outlook will remain bleak before new stimulus to aggregate demand,” said Xing Zhaopeng, markets economist at ANZ in Shanghai. “The worldwide lockdowns will continue to weigh on the economy.”

** Also helping lift sentiment in China, leaders of the Group of 20 major economies pledged on Thursday to inject over $5 trillion into the global economy to limit job and income losses from the coronavirus and “do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic.”

** For the short term, investor concerns over the A-share market would be substantially alleviated as global capital markets have already witnessed a recovery, Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune Securities, said in a report.

** Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases, as Beijing ordered airlines to sharply cut international flights fearing travellers could reignite the coronavirus outbreak.

** China on Thursday ordered local airlines to maintain only one route to any country and limit flights per such routes to one per week, effective March 29. Foreign airlines have also been ordered to cut routes to China to one and limit flights to one per week, although many had already stopped flying to the country.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.4%, while Japan’s Nikkei index jumped 2.43%, as stimulus hopes were bolstered after U.S. unemployment filings surged to a record.

** The yuan was quoted at 7.0625 per U.S. dollar, 0.11% firmer than the previous close of 7.07.

** As of 04:22 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 28.39% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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