Chinese stocks fall amid geopolitical tensions; focus on the parliamentary meeting

SHANGHAI, March 4 (Reuters) – Chinese stocks fell on Friday amid geopolitical tensions and concerns over the property market, with investors nervously watching for hints of an easing of measures at the next congressional meeting.

The CSI300 index (.CSI300) fell 0.9% to 4,509.53 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index (.SSEC) lost 0.7% to 3,458 ,30.

The Hang Seng Index (.HSI) fell 2.7% to 21,867.45. The Hong Kong China Enterprise Index (.HSCE) fell 2.5% to 7,699.14.

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** China’s parliament begins its annual meeting on Saturday, when it is expected to unveil more stimulus measures to mitigate a slowdown in growth in a politically sensitive year, with the war in Ukraine adding further uncertainty. Read more

** China’s central bank may lower a key interest rate this month, the official China Daily reported on Friday. Read more

** Property developers (.CSI000952) lost 1.7% and Banks (.CSI000951) edged down 1%.

** The number of Chinese companies “persistently late” on commercial paper payments more than doubled in February from the previous month as China’s real estate sector continued to struggle with a liquidity crunch. Read more

** The CSI Computer Index (.CSI930651) fell 1.8%, while New Energy Vehicles (.CSI399976) fell 2.3%.

** “The latest developments in global geopolitical tensions, real estate market uncertainties and the COVID-19 situation raise heightened concerns,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

** The research firm also said investors should “stay cautious and watch for inflection after the NPC (National People’s Congress) and Q4 earnings results.”

**Hong Kong shares followed a tumble in Asian stock markets as investors took fright at reports of a burning nuclear power plant amid fierce fighting between Ukraine and Russian troops. Read more

** The Hang Seng Tech Index (.HSTECH) fell more than 4% to a record high, with Meituan (3690.HK), Alibaba (9988.HK) and Tencent (0700.HK) down 3 .8% to 7.1%.

** The Hang Seng Finance Index (.HSNF) fell 2%, while the Consumer Discretionary Index (.HSCICD) fell more than 4%.

**While many property developers tumbled amid real estate woes, Country Garden (2007.HK) jumped 6.3% after signing a 15 billion yuan ($2.37 billion) deal in M&A facilities with China Merchants. Read more

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