Chinese stocks close as Ukraine crisis escalates; key meeting in focus

SHANGHAI, March 4 (Reuters) – Chinese stocks fell on Friday on concerns over a deepening crisis in Ukraine and the domestic property market, as investors nervously awaited clues on easing measures. policy at the next meeting of Congress.

The blue-chip CSI300 index (.CSI300) fell 1.2% to 4,496.43 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index (.SSEC) lost 1% to 3,447.65.

**For the week, the CSI300 index was down 1.7%, while the Shanghai Composite index edged down 0.1%.

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** China’s parliament begins its annual meeting on Saturday and is expected to unveil more stimulus measures to cushion a slowing economy in a politically sensitive year, with the Ukraine crisis adding further uncertainty. Read more

** China’s central bank may lower a key interest rate this month, the official China Daily reported. Read more

** Property developers (.CSI000952) lost 1.4% and Banks (.CSI000951) edged down 1.1%.

** The number of Chinese companies “persistently late” on commercial paper payments more than doubled in February from the previous month as the real estate sector continued to struggle with a liquidity crunch. Read more

** The CSI Computer Index (.CSI930651) was down 2%, New Energy stocks (.CSI399808) were down 1.8%, while Machinery stocks (.CSI000812) closed down 1 .9%.

** “The latest developments in global geopolitical tensions, real estate market uncertainties and the COVID-19 situation raise heightened concerns,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.

** The research firm also said investors should “stay cautious and watch for inflection after the NPC (National People’s Congress) and Q4 earnings results.”

**Across the region, Asian stocks tumbled after news broke of a fire near a Ukrainian nuclear facility following fighting with Russian forces. Read more

** The fire has been extinguished, the Ukrainian state emergency service said. Read more

**Hong Kong stocks followed the fall in Asian equity markets.

** The Hang Seng Index (.HSI) fell 2.5% to 21,905.29, while the Chinese Enterprise Index (.HSCE) fell 2.7% to 7,686.87.

** For the week, the Hang Seng Index and the Chinese Enterprise Index both fell around 3.8%.

** The Hang Seng Tech Index (.HSTECH) fell 4.4% to a record high, with Meituan (3690.HK), Alibaba (9988.HK) and Tencent (0700.HK) down 3 .7% to 5.4%.

** The Hang Seng Financials Index (.HSNF) fell 1.7%, while the Consumer Discretionary Index (.HSCICD) fell 4.8%.

**While many property developers tumbled amid real estate woes, Country Garden (2007.HK) jumped 6.1% after signing a 15 billion yuan ($2.37 billion) deal in M&A facilities with China Merchants. Read more

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Shanghai News Room report; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Kim Coghill

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Christi C. Elwood