SHANGHAI, May 16 (Reuters) - China stocks ended down on
Monday after data showed the country's economic activity had
cooled sharply in April due to COVID-19 lockdowns, with
investors looking past Shanghai's June reopening plan and a
home-loan rate cut for first-time buyers.
The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.8% to 3,956.54,
while the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.3% at
The Hang Seng index rose 0.3%, to 19,950.21, while
the China Enterprises Index gained 0.3%, to 6,826.31
** China's April retail sales plunged 11.1% versus a year
earlier, almost twice the projected drop, while industrial
output fell 2.9%, compared with analysts' forecast for a slight
** Data on Friday showed new bank lending in China hit its
lowest level in nearly four-and-a-half years in April, as the
pandemic jolted the economy and weakened credit demand.
** Shanghai set out plans for a return of more normal life
from June 1 and for the end of a painful COVID-19 lockdown that
has lasted more than six weeks.
** To prop up the property sector, the central bank cut the
lower limit of interest rates on home loans for first-time
purchasers by 20 basis points, based on Loan Prime Rates.
** "Although we expect this cut to provide a benefit, the
positive impact could be quite limited, as stringent
anti-COVID-19 measures appear set to continue for an unspecified
time," Nomura analysts said in a note.
** "We expect more policy actions to follow in the next few
months," said Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist at
Pinpoint Asset Management.
** China's central bank rolled over maturing medium-term
policy loans while keeping the interest rate unchanged on
Monday, and some banks expect the lending benchmark Loan Prime
Rate could be lowered at the monthly fixing on Friday.
** China's property sales in April fell at their fastest
pace in around 16 years. Meanwhile, sources told Reuters three
leading Chinese property developers, Country Garden,
Longfor Group and Midea Real Estate, had
been asked by authorities to issue bonds this week.
** Property developers gained 1.5% and energy
shares rose 2.2%, while healthcare firms
lost 2.1% and automobiles declined 1.4%.
** Tech giants trading in Hong Kong ended almost
flat after opening up 2.4%, with food-delivery firm Meituan
down 2.5%. E-commerce behemoth Alibaba
climbed nearly 3% to provide the biggest boost to the Hang Seng
** Mainland developers listed in Hong Kong surged
3.4%, with Country Garden jumping more than 10% to
become the biggest percentage gainer in the Hang Seng Index.
(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Edmund Klamann)