* SSEC 0.1 pct, CSI300 0.1 pct, HSI -0.1 pct
* Premier Li's press conference offer little surprises
* Energy stocks in HK fall on weaker oil prices
SHANGHAI, March 15 China stocks were roughly
flat on Wednesday morning, with investors eagerly awaiting cues
for direction as they closely monitor Premier Li Keqiang's press
conference at the end of China's annual parliamentary meeting.
Hong Kong stocks slipped slightly, as energy shares
continued to slide on lower oil prices, while investors waited
to see if the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates as
expected later in the global day.
Both China's blue-chip CSI300 index and the
Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1 percent by the lunch
break, to 3,460.75 points and 3,241.97 points, respectively.
The indexes have fluctuated in a narrow range over the past
month, with the market propped up by signs of economic strength,
but doubts linger over whether the recovery, bolstered mainly by
government stimulus, is sustainable.
"China's economy had pretty good performance in January and
February. March data will be crucial as investors are anxious
for any hint on whether the recovery is sustainable," said Linus
Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities Ltd.
Linus added that Premier Li's press conference as the
National People's Congress meeting drew to a close contained few
Li said that China's economy faces domestic and external
risks this year, but added the country has many policy tools to
cope with them. He said fears of a hard landing for the economy
should be dismissed, but said meeting the 6.5 percent growth
target won'tbe easy.
Sector performance was mixed in China, with transportation
and material shares rising, while
real estate and banking shares lost
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.1
percent, to 23,815.03 points, while the Hong Kong China
Enterprises Index lost 0.2 percent, to 10,299.76.
The energy sector lost 0.6 percent, as oil prices
continue to sag amid supply glut fears.
Analysts say the market has priced in the overwhelming
probability that the Fed will raise its short-term interest rate
later in the day at the end of a two-day meeting of its
(Samuel Shen and John Ruwtich; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)