* SSEC -0.2 pct, CSI300 -0.4 pct, HSI flat
* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 1.7 pct
* Sino-U.S trade talks to begin in Washington on Thursday
SHANGHAI, May 17 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks edged lower on Thursday as investors took a cautious stance ahead of the Sino-U.S. trade talks to be held later in the day.
** The CSI300 index dropped 0.4 percent to 3,878.45 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2 percent to 3,162.23 points.
** The Hang Seng index was unchanged at 31,097.96 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.8 percent to 12,338.98. ** The United States and China will launch trade talks on Thursday in a bid to avert a damaging tariff war, with the White House’s harshest China critic relegated to a supporting role, senior Trump administration officials said on Wednesday.
** China’s CSI300 financial sector sub-index was lower by 0.05 percent, the consumer staples sector down 0.85 percent, the real estate index up 0.07 percent and healthcare sub-index down 1.22 percent. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.81 percent to 12,338.98, while the Hang Seng Index dipped 0.04 percent to 31,097.96. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was down 0.29 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.58 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.12 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 0.66 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.3605 per U.S. dollar, 0.16 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.3705. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were China Petroleum Engineering Corp up 10.11 percent, followed by Suzhou Douson Drilling&Production Equipment Co Ltd gaining 10.04 percent and Shanghai La Chapelle Fashion Co Ltd up by 10.01 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Shanghai Diesel Engine Co Ltd down 9.99 percent, followed by JDM JingDa Machine Ningbo Co Ltd losing 6.34 percent and Inly Media Co Ltd down by 6.32 percent. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Tencent Holdings Ltd up 5.15 percent, followed by CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd gaining 1.97 percent and PetroChina Co Ltd up by 0.98 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Air China Ltd which has fallen 2.11 percent, China Pacific Insurance Group Co Ltd which has lost 1.9 percent and New China Life Insurance Co Ltd down by 1.9 percent. ** About 6.17 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 43.0 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 14.34 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 13.05 billion as of the last full trading day. ** As of 0407 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 20.69 percent 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. ** The price-to-earnings ratio of the Shanghai index was 13.62 as of the last full trading day, while the dividend yield was 2.2 percent.
Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips