ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


China shares wavered between positive and negative territory Wednesday, after figures showed the economy growing at its slowest pace in six years, with Hong Kong giving up morning gains and mainland stocks off more than 1%.

The Hang Seng Index was recently flat at 27542.32 and the Shanghai Composite Index last down 1.1%, after China posted 7% year-over-year growth during the first quarter, the slowest quarterly growth rate since 2009. The latest China growth figure means that Beijing has little cushion in hitting its 7% annual growth target.

“While not great, the data is being perceived as leading to more policy easing, either in the form of rate cuts or targeted growth support,” said David Welch, head of Asian equity distribution at Reorient Group. Investors are resuming their buying of dual-listed Chinese firms whose shares are cheaper in Hong Kong than on the mainland, after profit-taking on Tuesday, said Mr. Welch.

The Hang Seng fell 1.6% Tuesday, snapping an eight-day winning streak.

Other Asian markets, also reacting to the latest China data, were mixed. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was flat at 19909.14 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.8% at 5898.30.

Gregor Stuart Hunter contributed to this article.