SHANGHAI, March 20 China stocks recouped earlier
losses to end slightly higher on Monday, as strong gains in
energy stocks offset weakness in developers following fresh
measures to cool the property market.
The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.1 percent, to
3,449.61 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index
added 0.4 percent to 3,250.81 points.
The impact of earlier property cooling steps by many cities
may have been short-lived, data showed on Saturday. China's home
prices picked up speed again in February after slowing in the
previous four months, while sales surged.
Over the past week, a number of local governments have
stepped up restrictions on property investment, and the central
government vowed to control bank lending to the property sector.
An index tracking the property sector posted
its worst day in three months, after more cities imposed fresh
property restrictions over the weekend.
Investors in China are being torn between recent data
showing a resilient economy and fears that expected policy
tightening, while gradual, will eventually lead to higher
borrowing costs and stunt business activity.
Last week, the country's central bank raised short-term
interest rates for the third time in as many months in the
immediate wake of the U.S. rate hike.
"The market is concerned about two things: whether the
economic recovery is sustainable, and the reality of tighter
liquidity," Galaxy Securities said in its latest strategy
The brokerage added that upbeat economic data offers
"trading opportunities" for investors, but warned investors that
the recovery may fade in the second half, when tighter liquidity
will also add pressure to the market.
Sector performance was mixed.
While property stocks dragged on the market, energy firms
rallied strongly, led by heavyweight China Shenhua
after the country's largest coal miner announced a
spectacular dividend payment proposal.
Shares in the coal miner surged by their 10 percent trade
limit to close at a 19-month high, as the company proposed to
pay total dividend of 59 billion yuan ($8.54 billion) in cash
after recording a 40.7 percent increase in net profit for 2016.
($1 = 6.9047 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by