China stocks rise on healthcare boost, ETF Connect launch; HK dips

China stocks rise on healthcare boost, ETF Connect launch; HK dips
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SHANGHAI (July 4): Chinese stocks rose on Monday (July 4), supported by healthcare shares and the launch of cross-border investment scheme ETF Connect, while Hong Kong shares slipped, weighed by airline operators.

China's blue-chip index rose 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5%. In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng Index dipped 0.1%.

Investors in China and Hong Kong started trading exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in each other's markets on Monday, but more money will likely flow into mainland markets initially under ETF Connect.

With just four Hong Kong-listed ETFs qualified, compared with 83 eligible products traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, the benefits are sharply skewed towards funds that invest in China-listed shares.

An index tracking China's healthcare stocks surged 4.7% on signs of a possible flare-up in Covid-19 outbreaks in China.

Parts of eastern China are running fresh rounds of mass Covid-19 testing as the country faces new waves of infections while recovering from impact of the spring outbreaks that hit Beijing and Shanghai. 

Daily numbers of locally transmitted infections in mainland China increased to more than 300 over the weekend, compared with a few dozens in late-June.

Tourism and transport stocks shares fell.

China's "Big Three" state airlines tumbled in both China and Hong Kong after they pledged last Friday to buy a total of almost 300 Airbus jets, the biggest order by Chinese carriers since the start of the pandemic. 

Hong Kong shares in Air China slumped 4.1%, their worst day in roughly two months.

Shares in China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines also fell.

Hong Kong shares in Great Wall Motor Co Ltd slumped 6% after General Motors said last Friday it had called off the sale of a shuttered Indian plant to the Chinese automaker.