* HSI -0.5 pct, H-shares -0.1 pct, CSI300 +0.9 pct
* HSI bounces off 200-day moving average, seen critical
* Turnover improves, but still below average in past month
* Jiangxi Copper, Zijin Mining cut losses as metal prices
By Clement Tan
HONG KONG, April 16 (Reuters) - China shares posted their
first gain in three days, after earlier testing their lowest in
nearly 4 months, as strength in Chinese insurers and property
developers outweighed weakness in commodities counters amid a
rout in physical prices.
Hong Kong markets had a third-straight daily loss, but a
bout of short covering in afternoon trade on the back of a
rebound in gold and oil prices limited losses on the day.
Turnover was highest since April 5, but still below average.
The Hang Seng Index closed down 0.5 percent at 21,672
points, earlier bouncing off chart support at its 200-day moving
average, now at about 21,462.7. A break below this technical
level could point to further losses.
The China Enterprises Index of the leading Chinese
listings in Hong Kong slipped 0.1 percent. The CSI300
of the top Shanghai and Shenzhen A shares ended up 0.9 percent,
while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6 percent,
after earlier plumbing levels struck on Dec. 25.
Both onshore Chinese indexes were down 0.6 percent at the
midday break. Still, Shanghai volume was some 12 percent below
average despite being the highest in almost a week.
"It's a sell-off in Hong Kong, but not quite a panic," said
Jackson Wong, Tanrich Securities' vice-president for equity
sales. "There're actually some funds rotating into
non-commodities sectors after losses in the last few days."
China Pacific Insurance (CPIC) jumped
3.4 percent in Hong Kong and 4.3 percent in Shanghai after
reporting robust March premiums, lifting the Chinese insurance
Separately, the country's insurance regulator said it would
allow shareholders to own stakes of up to 51 percent, from the
previous 20 percent in a move that will help boost capital
Chinese property shares extended gains after Monday's
underwhelming data for first quarter GDP growth eased some
concerns about property tightening. March home price data is due
on April 18.
Further buoying sentiment, a front-page editorial in the
official China Securities Journal on Tuesday said the central
government should fine tune policy adjustments in response to
slowing economic growth but should be cautious about using
interest rates and or exchange rate tools.
China Vanke spiked 5.5 percent in Shenzhen to
its highest since March 1, when the market first reacted to the
central government's announcement of guidelines for new curbs on
In Hong Kong, China Overseas Land rose 0.9
percent, while smaller sector players had the bigger percentage
gains, with Greentown China jumping 5.4 percent.
Chinese building materials producers were also strong. Anhui
Conch Cement rose 2.4 percent in Hong Kong
and 1.7 percent in Shanghai as cement prices in the mainland
continued to rise and inventories dropped to a four-month low,
according to Nomura.
The sell-off in physical commodities continued on Tuesday,
although gold rebounded more than 1 percent after falling to
two-year lows and Brent crude cut losses, giving stock markets
Jiangxi Copper was down 4.3 percent at
midday, but ended down 1.9 percent in Hong Kong. Its Shanghai
listing ended down 0.7 percent as Shanghai copper prices fell to
an 18-month trough.
Zijin Mining fell 1.7 percent in Hong
Kong and 1.3 percent in Shanghai. This is Zijin's
fourth-straight daily loss and China's biggest gold miner has
now lost 11 percent in Hong Kong and 8 percent in Shanghai in
Chinese oil majors were broadly weaker as CNOOC Ltd
slid 1.9 percent to its lowest since June.
But Chinese airlines jumped on hopes that declining oil
prices will improve profit margins. China Eastern Airlines
climbed 4.2 percent to recover Monday's
losses in full in Hong Kong, while rising 3.6 percent in