BEIJING: Chinese stocks moved in a narrow range on Wednesday, while Hong Kong shares tracked small gains by Asian peers ahead of the festive season, as further relaxations of COVID-19 curbs by China marginally improved investor confidence. ** China's blue-chip CSI 300 Index was flat, while the Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.17%.
** Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 0.34% and 0.43%, respectively. ** Asian stocks, trying to get into a festive mood, managed small gains. Even Japan's Nikkei lifted off the two-month low it hit after the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) surprise decision to loosen its tight leash on government bond yields.
** Meanwhile, China's healthcare system was put to the test as COVID cases spiked. Dozens of hearses queued outside a Beijing crematorium on Wednesday, even as the country reported no new COVID-19 deaths. ** In Huashan Hospital, one of Shanghai's largest, the number of patients in its fever clinics increased fivefold, Xinhua reported.
** "Despite possible heightened disruptions to the economy from the impact of COVID-19 in the near term, we believe that economic growth will likely recover quarter by quarter and surpass 5% in full year 2023, and risk assets will likely post good performance," CICC analysts said in a note. ** The United States on Tuesday indicated it stood ready to assist China with its surging COVID-19 outbreak, warning that an uncontrolled spread there might have implications for the global economy.
** Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's delegate to the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said on Wednesday that he thinks the SAR and the mainland will soon resume quarantine-free travel，local media reported. ** Tourism advanced 2.1%, consumer staples and food & beverages were up 1.2%, respectively, while photovoltaic sector dropped 2.3% and semiconductors declined 1.4%.
** In Hong Kong, tech giants advanced 0.7%. HSBC up 1.6%, led the gains on the benchmark index.