China stocks closed almost flat on Thursday, as investors awaited any clues on policy moves from an upcoming Politburo meeting, while Hong Kong shares dropped after the city's central bank raised its base rate by 75 basis points.
The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 4,225.67, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2% to 3,282.58 points.
The Hang Seng index fell 0.2%, to 20,622.68, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.1%, to 7,082.58 points.
** The CSI300 Real Estate Index lost 0.7%, although the Financial Times reported that Beijing was seeking to mobilise up to 1 trillion yuan ($148 billion) of loans for stalled property developments, in its most ambitious attempt to revive the debt-stricken sector.
** Investors awaited the Politburo meeting, which was likely to be convened on Friday. There is keen interest in any measures related to the property market that could be discussed at the meeting.
** Semiconductors rose 2.7%, while most other sectors remained dull.
** As expected, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates by 75 basis points to 2.25-2.5% but did note some softening in recent data.
** "The less hawkish-than-expected comments could portend a near-term softening of the USD, and risk assets could rally," wrote David Chao, global market strategist, Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) at Invesco.
** Investors are more focused on domestic policies, especially ahead of the politically significant 20th Communist Party Congress later this year.
** China must focus on addressing "unbalanced and inadequate development" in the next five years, President Xi Jinping told senior leaders this week, State broadcaster CCTV reported late on Wednesday.
** Tech giants listed in Hong Kong climbed only 0.4% despite a sharp rise in U.S. peers overnight, as regulatory uncertainties and delisting risks lingered.
** Alibaba Group lost 1.8% while Meituan retreated 1.1% to become the main drags on the Hang Seng Index.
** Casino operators' shares gained more than 3%, as Macau's government on Thursday announced that operators can submit bids for new casino licences.
** Financial shares slipped after policymakers in Hong Kong raised the city’s key interest rate.
** Eddie Yue, chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), said he expected the city's overnight and one-month interbank rates, as well as short-term rates, to accelerate at a much faster pace. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)