January 4, 2012 (Chinavestor) China stocks fell in Asia on Wednesday following an optimistic opening of the new year a day before. The Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) gave back 150.1 points or 0.8% from a 443 points advance on Tuesday. Stocks that fell outnumbered those that advanced seven to one among 42 components of the index. Traders opened the new year on a somber note on the mainland, sending the Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) 30.0 points or 1.4% lower on the first trading day of the year. The decline was universal on the mainland as well for stocks that fell outnumbered those that advanced eight to one among the 50 largest components of the broad Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001).
Chinese energy stocks bucked the negative trend and traded higher as price of oil rose. West Texas crude is trading above the $100 benchmark in the wake of tensions with Iran. Petrochina Co. Ltd. (HKG:0857), the largest Chinese oil producer, rose 1.2% while CNOOC ltd. (HKG:0338), China's offshore oil specialist, eked out a 0.7% gain. But power producers fell as high oil and coal prices squeezed margins and insurers fell on negative profit outlook.