SHANGHAI: China stocks ended lower on Monday as sharp spikes in new coronavirus infections at home and around the world raised concerns about the country's nascent economic recovery.
At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.7% to 4,109.72, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 2,961.52. The tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext Composite index eased 0.4% on profit-taking.
Chinese investors, coming back from a long weekend after the Dragon Boat Festival, reacted to signs of a worsening pandemic as the global death toll touched half a million people, and Wall Street slumped over 2% on Friday.
Securities shares led the decline on the mainland, following a media report that China plans to grant investment banking licenses to lenders, potentially intensifying competition. The CSI SWS securities index slumped 3.1%.
Global markets would go through a new wave of fluctuations as the resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak has changed optimism about the global economic recovery, analysts at AVIC Securities wrote in a note.
Although profits at China's industrial firms rose for the first time in six months in May, "market demand remains relatively weak amid the epidemic, and sustainability of the profit recovery deserves further observation", Zhu Hong, senior statistician at China's statistics bureau, cautioned over the weekend.
China's central bank said on Sunday the country's economic growth faces challenges from the pandemic despite signs of improvement amid business re-openings.