March 22, 2012 (Chinavestor) Chinese stocks continued to trade sideways on Thursday. The Hang Seng index (INDEXHANGSENG:.HSI) advanced a mere 44.9 points or 0.2% for the day. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) lost 2.4 points or 0.1% on Thursday after a 0.1% advance a day before. Chinese manufacturing data, compiled by HSBC, provided further evidence that the world's second largest economy is cooling. But the pace of the slow down may not be as harsh as to prompt monetary easing, leaving investors out in the dark.
Shares of Aluminum Corp. of China (SHA:601600), the third largest aluminum maker in the world, fell 2.8% after a 10% jump on Wednesday. Copper, molybdenum and other metal stocks fell on slower manufacturing data and subdued demand. Rio Tinto, the Australian giant supplying iron to China, said that demand for iron ore has flattened out.
Huaneng Power (HKG:0902), the largest independent power generator in China, rose the most among components of the Hang Seng Index (INDEXHANGSAENG:.HSI) after a 7.5% slide a day earlier. Air China (HKG:0753), China's flagship carrier, rose but China Eastern Airlines (HKG:0670) fell. Trading in Hong Kong lacked direction as the erratic behaviour of large cap stocks testified.