* SSEC +0.1 pct, CSI300 +0.2 pct, HSI -0.1 pct
* 14 Chinese stocks with "Xiongan" concept suspend trading
* China tightening policies pressures stock valuation -
SHANGHAI, April 13 Chinese stocks edged higher
on Thursday as investors continued to bet on stocks that could
benefit from Beijing's plan to build the Xiongan economic zone,
although sentiment on the mainland remains tempered by worries
about a cooling economy.
Investor concerns centre on Beijing's monetary tightening
bias, even as China's March trade data exceeded expectations.
Also overhanging the market are regulators' efforts to clamp
down on speculation with 14 companies halting share trading.
China's blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2 percent,
to 3,514.62 points by lunch break, while the Shanghai Composite
Index gained 0.1 percent, to 3,277.88 points.
Hong Kong stocks were roughly flat as rising geopolitical
risks continued to curb risk appetite.
Xiongan, through which China hopes to mimic the rapid growth
seen following the establishment of a similar zone in Shenzhen
in 1980, remains a hot investment theme, despite measures by
regulators to cool speculation.
However, brokerage Shenwan Hongyuan said in its latest
strategy report that thematic investments in concepts such as
Xiongan are unlikely to change the current "range-trading"
pattern of the market.
"Under the current macro environment, the government is
stepping on the brakes using a combination of policy tools, such
as real estate curbs and higher repo rates," analyst Yao Liqi
"In such a backdrop, the market is lowering growth
expectations and anticipating higher interest rates, thus,
putting pressure on stock valuations."
Fourteen Chinese companies suspended trading in their
shares on Thursday, citing the need to further evaluate the
potential impact on businesses from Xiongan. Some market
participants suspect the concerted moves are the result of
And although China's March trade data was upbeat - exports
rose 16.4 percent from a year earlier, while imports increased
20.3 percent - some analysts see downside prospects.
"A drop back in commodity price inflation explains some of
the decline in import growth but import volume growth appears to
have eased as well, suggesting that the tighter policy stance
has begun to weigh on domestic demand," Capital Economics wrote.
Most sectors in China were up on Thursday, but property
stocks continued to struggle amid news of fresh
curbs in some Chinese cities.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.1
percent, to 24,296.85 points, while the Hong Kong China
Enterprises Index was unchanged at 10,212.39.
(Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Sam Holmes)