* SSEC -0.1 pct, CSI300 +0.3 pct, HSI +0.4 pct
* Investors chase consumer, healthcare stocks, dump
* Energy shares down after oil price slump
SHANGHAI, April 20 China stocks steadied on
Thursday morning after a four-day losing streak, with investors
continuing to rush for cover in defensive sectors such as
consumer and healthcare, while fleeing from small-caps.
Hong Kong shares also rebounded slightly, but energy shares
were down on lower oil prices.
Investors remained circumspect ahead of the French
presidential elections due at the weekend.
China's blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3 percent,
to 3,457.05 points by the lunch break, while the Shanghai
Composite Index lost 0.1 percent, to 3,168.53 points.
The market, concerned that economic recovery is fading, drew
some solace from Beijing's pledge to implement more fiscal and
monetary-policy support to address the potential rise in the
country's jobless rate.
Zhangtai Securities warned in its latest strategy report
that market will remain volatile amid increasingly tighter
regulatory and monetary environment.
Underscoring reduced risk appetite, investors rushed into
sectors that promise stable returns and generous dividend
payouts, pushing both consumer and healthcare
indexes up over 2 percent, while an index tracking
liquor makers jumped nearly 4 percent.
In the spotlight are investor darlings Gree Electric
and Kweichow Moutai, both rising to
historic heights amid increasingly crowded trades.
In contrast, small-caps continued to underperform
blue-chips, with the start-up board ChiNext ending
the morning in the negative territory.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.4 percent,
to 23,921.39 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index
gained 0.1 percent, to 9,989.97.
Investors risk appetite remain curbed by tensions around
North Korea, as well as the upcoming French presidential
The energy sector dropped 0.8 percent
in Hong Kong, and 1.2 percent in China, after oil prices tumbled
(Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch; Editing by Eric