(Reuters) - China shares rebounded from a 33-month intra-day low to rise 0.2 percent gain on Wednesday, leading some analysts to hope for more gains by Friday to limit their losses during 2011.
The Shanghai Composite Index, which closed at 2,170 points, stayed in oversold conditions on the charts. It is down 22.7 percent this year, following a 14.3 percent decline in 2010.
Despite Shanghai snapping a two-day losing streak, prevailing weakness in mainland markets weighed on Hong Kong, which reopened on Wednesday after a Christmas break.
The Hang Seng Index slipped 0.6 percent to close at 18,518.7 points. Chinese shares were particularly weak in Hong Kong.
The China Enterprises Index of the top mainland listings in the territory was a relative underperformer, declining 1.5 percent.
In Shanghai, A-share volume stayed weak, pointing to lingering caution and a tight money supply due to a year-end spike in demand by businesses.
Traders said the major state banks were not making interbank loans, causing short-term money market rates to surge. Some said rates could remain high until the Lunar New Year, in late January.
It's going to take a while before we see retail investors, most of whom have suffered steep losses in the last two years, return to the market with any real confidence, said Zhang Qi, an analyst with Haitong Securities in Shanghai.
Uncertainty over the extent of the slowdown in the Chinese economy and the lingering euro zone debt crisis have led Chinese fund managers to slash their suggested equity weightings to four-month lows in December, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, strength in Chinese energy stocks and bargain hunting in oversold brokerage names helped reverse losses.
PetroChina Co Ltd, the mainland's largest oil producer, was the top boost to the Shanghai benchmark, up 0.9 percent on firmer oil prices.
Gains of more than 2 percent for Shenzhen-listed Northeast Securities Co Ltd came in almost twice its 30-day average volume and lifted its shares out of oversold conditions on the charts.
Citic Securities, the mainland's largest listed brokerage, gained 1.4 percent.
Its parent company, CITIC Group, China's biggest financial conglomerate, is a step closer to a possible Hong Kong listing in 2012 that could raise more than $10 billion after completing a restructuring.
CHINESE BANKS WEAK, HK TURNOVER WORST IN 2011
In Hong Kong, turnover slumped to a fresh 2011 low. An exception was China Mengniu Diary Co Ltd, which tumbled almost 24 percent in more than 16 times its 30-day average volume.
China's largest diary company said over the weekend that it had destroyed milk in Sichuan found by a government quality watchdog to contain aflatoxin, a substance that can cause severe liver damage.
Chinese banks were among top drags on the Hang Seng Index. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) lost 3.3 percent, while Bank of China shed 2 percent.
Chinese banks came under pressure today because there were some expectations that Beijing could cut reserve requirements over the long Christmas weekend, which of course didn't happen, said Jackson Wong, vice-president for equity sales at Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong.