* SSEC -1.0%, CSI300 -1.9%, HSI -1.3%
* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used -5.1%, Shanghai->HK
quota used -1.3%
* FTSE China A50 -2.4%
SHANGHAI, March 8 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks
reversed course to trade lower on Monday as a
lower-than-expected 2021 economic growth target from Beijing
sparked concerns that Chinese officials could tighten policy to
rein in lofty valuations.
** The CSI300 index fell 1.9% to 5,162.22 points
at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite
Index lost 1.0% to 3,466.51 points.
** The Hang Seng index dropped 1.3% to 28,708.93
points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost
1.2% to 11,154.90.
** Leading the declines, the CSI300 consumer staples index
and the CSI300 healthcare index slumped
3.7% and 3.4%, respectively, while the Hang Seng tech index
** China on Friday set a modest annual economic growth
target, at above 6%, which was significantly below the consensus
of analysts, who expect growth could beat 8% this year.
** "China has become the most expensive market for
non-financial equities among major markets globally. Meanwhile,
the National People's Congress declared a very conservative
growth target, creating room for policymakers to take action to
contain risks of asset bubble in both equities and property,"
Citi Private Bank analysts, including Ken Peng, said in a note.
** Citi said that more restrained credit growth could lead
to lower valuations in the coming months.
** The worry for investors is that liquidity is expected to
tighten even as economic recovery at home and abroad fell short
of expectations, said Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune
** "The yuan's weakness would also dampen the appeal of
Chinese equities to foreign investors," he added.
** China's onshore spot yuan weakened past 6.51
per dollar on Monday for first time since Jan. 4.
** On Monday, foreign investors sold a net 5.5 billion yuan
($844.88 million) worth of A-shares via the Stock Connect
linking mainland and Hong Kong, according to Refinitiv data.
** There was a muted reaction to data showing that China's
February exports grew at a record pace from a year earlier,
while imports rose less sharply.
** Adding to the pressure were Sino-U.S. tensions.
** China urged the United States on Sunday to remove
"unreasonable" curbs on cooperation as soon as possible and work
together on issues like climate change, while accusing
Washington of bringing chaos in the name of spreading democracy.
($1 = 6.5098 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by