China stocks end higher as investors eye fresh stimulus

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China shares ended firmer on Thursday as investors anticipated further policy support from the ongoing Chinese parliamentary meeting,

China stocks end higher as investors eye fresh stimulus

but gains were curbed amid a standoff between Washington and Beijing over a new Hong Kong security law.

** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index ended up 0.3% at 2,846.22. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.3%, with its financial sector sub-index higher by 1.3%, the consumer staples sector down 0.1%, the real estate index up 0.6% and the healthcare sub-index down 1.5%. ** The smaller Shenzhen index closed 0.3% lower and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.8%.

** Investors are waiting for policymakers to flesh out signals of support, especially for sectors such as real estate and infrastructure, said Linus Yip, chief strategist from First Shanghai Securities.

** Chinese premier Li Keqiang will speak at a press conference in Beijing later in the day as the annual parliamentary meeting wraps up. ** Shortly after the market close, China’s parliament approved directly imposing national security legislation on Hong Kong to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in a city roiled last year by months of anti-government protests. ** U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China’s decision to impose laws in Hong Kong was “only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine” the city’s autonomy and freedom.

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** The yuan was 0.19% stronger at 7.1547 per U.S. dollar at 0722 GMT. Offshore yuan hit a record low overnight. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 6.7% and the CSI300 has fallen 5.9%. Shanghai stocks have declined 0.5% this month. ** About 20.76 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange. The volume in the previous trading session was 19.8 billion. (Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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