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Mercados

China stocks end higher, post first weekly gain in four

* Shanghai shares add 0.4% , blue-chips up 0.7%

* China Q1 growth slowest since financial crisis - poll

* Track the coronavirus here: tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG, Feb 14 (Reuters) - China stocks closed higher on Friday, marking their first weekly gain in four, on hopes that measures by the government to contain the coronavirus outbreak and limit its economic impact could continue to help equities.

** The Shanghai Composite index ended 0.4% higher at 2,917.01, up 1.4% week-on-week. The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.7%, rising 2.3% from the previous week.

** CSI300’s financial sector sub-index was higher by 1.3%, the consumer staples sector rose 0.7%, the real estate index jumped 3.1% and the healthcare sub-index inched up 0.2%.

** The smaller Shenzhen index rose 0.4% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.2%, giving up some gains after hitting a fresh three-year high earlier in the session.

** China’s coronavirus epidemic showed no sign of peaking with health authorities on Friday reporting more than 5,000 new cases, while passengers on a cruise ship blocked from five countries due to virus fears finally disembarked in Cambodia.

** Shanxi Securities said in a note the expectation of loosening monetary policy will continue to help equities, even as disruption to production hurts earnings. The brokerage tipped growth stocks to gain on the back of easier credit conditions.

** Foreign investors largely been buying A-shares through Stock Connect after the Lunar New Year holiday, Morgan Stanley said in a note. ‘Northbound’ Connect inflows year-to-date stood at $9.7 billion on Wednesday, the investment bank said.

** The Chinese economy will grow at its slowest rate since the financial crisis in the current quarter, according to a Reuters poll of economists who said the downturn will be short-lived if the outbreak is contained.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.2%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.6%.

** At 0703 GMT, the yuan was 0.09% weaker at 6.9837 per U.S. dollar.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 4.4% and the CSI300 has fallen 2.7%. Shanghai stocks have declined 2% this month.

** About 25.07 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange. The volume in the previous trading session was 27.48 billion.

** As of 0703 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.60% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

** The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day moving average and below its 200-day moving average. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Noah Sin; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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