China stocks calmed down on Wednesday morning after falling 6 percent over the past two days, as a rebound in small-caps offset weakness in banking shares.
But trading volumes were tiny, as many investors stayed on the sidelines, wearily watching Beijing’s intensified crackdown on market irregularities. On Tuesday, CITIC Securities said police were investigating senior managers.
The CSI300 index rose 0.1 percent, to 3,156.62 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent, to 3,009.57 points.
Hong Kong shares also gained slightly in thin trading, as investors anxiously await the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision later in the week on whether to lift rates.
Investors focus was also on CITIC Securities and the investigations that involve general manager Cheng Boming and Wang Jinling, vice manager of the information technology centre.
Both are suspected of insider trading and leaking information, the company said.
The case is being watched closely as CITIC has been an avid supporter of Beijing’s efforts to rescue the market.
CITC Securities lost 2.4 percent in morning trading, even as most other brokerages bounced.
A key index tracking banking stocks fell 1.3 percent.
“Banks performed solidly, particularly when compared to the overall market, over the last couple of days so a small correction is not too surprising,” said Gerry Alfonso, director of Shenwen Hongyuan Securities Co.
There appeared some renewed interest in shares of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) on reform hopes, after China’s two major shipping firms, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) and China Shipping Group, hinted at prospects of an asset restructuring.
The northbound daily quota for the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect, currently set at 13 billion yuan, saw net inflows of 1.44 billion yuan.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 1.0 percent, to 21,672.61 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.9 percent, to 9,791.77.