(Corrects carbon neutrality deadline to 2060, not 2026, in fifth paragraph)
SHANGHAI, April 23 (Reuters) - China stocks edged up on Friday, as President Xi Jinping’s renewed green pledge bolstered clean energy stocks while a flare-up of coronavirus cases in some Asian countries helped boost healthcare shares. ** Hong Kong shares also gained, helped by a sharp rebound in tech stocks.
** The CSI300 index rose 0.7% to 5,126.81 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1% to 3,466.68 points.
** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.9%, to 29,014.32 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.0% to 11,047.43.
** An index tracking China’s environment protection stocks rose after Chinese President Xi reiterated his pledge to make China carbon neutral by 2060. China will start phasing down coal use from 2026, Xi said at a summit of global leaders on Thursday.
** Meanwhile, China’s healthcare stocks registered robust gains amid reports of rising COVID-19 cases in India and Japan.
** Yang Hongxun, analyst at investment consultancy Shandong Hongguan, said the market will move side-ways, as investors don’t see a clear trend yet.
** The view was echoed by Chi Lo, senior economist at BNP Paribas Asset Management, who wrote: “The PBoC is handling a complicated dual-mandate of derisking the financial system and preventing any financial accidents while sustaining GDP growth.
** This backdrop is likely to lead to more upside for Chinese yields and volatility for Chinese stocks in the short-term.”
** In Hong Kong, tech shares rebounded sharply. The Hang Seng Tech Index jumped 2.4%.
** Hong Kong shares of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd rose the most in seven weeks in morning trading after first-quarter results.
Reporting by Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith