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Reuters

SHANGHAI — China stocks fell on Monday, weighed down by heavy losses in high-flying consumer, healthcare and new energy stocks as policy tightening fears persisted.

The CSI300 index fell 1.7% to 5,061.66 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6%, to 3,432.01 points.

Leading the declines, the CSI300 consumer staples index , the CSI300 healthcare index and the CSI new energy index slumped 3.7%, 3.5% and 3.2%, respectively.

“China has chosen to proactively burst the bubbles in stocks with frothy valuations, including by giving window guidance to prevent loans from flowing into stocks and properties market, and by issuing a series of implicit warnings on state-backed media against those stocks,” said Zhang Chengyu, a Beijing-based hedge fund manager.

Zhang said Beijing’s efforts are directed toward preventing or decreasing contagion effects from any bursting of bubbles in overseas financial markets.

China’s regulators have also told banks to trim their loan books this year to guard against risks emerging from bubbles in domestic financial markets.

Analysts also said setting a conservative economic growth target this year would give regulators more room to rein in frothiness in the country’s financial markets.

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Investors should refrain from sectors with high valuations and shift towards cyclical players that benefit from an economic recovery, Huaxi Securities analyst Li Lifeng said in a report.

China’s industrial output growth quickened in January-February, beating expectations, as the vast manufacturing sector started 2021 on a firm footing.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.6%, to 28,907.15 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.4%, to 11,221.61.

Gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd dropped 3% on anti-monopoly worries. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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