May 13, 2020 / 7:52 AM / 13 days ago

China stocks end higher as healthcare firms gain; second wave fears weigh

* Shanghai Composite index +0.22%; CSI300 +0.20

* Indexes turn around from midday losses

* Healthcare sub-index +1.4%

SHANGHAI, May 13 (Reuters) - Chinese shares closed higher on Wednesday, reversing course from small losses as a rally in healthcare stocks boosted the index, although gains were capped due to persisting concerns around a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases.

** The Shanghai Composite index ended 0.22% higher at 2,898.05, having shed as much as 0.55% during the session.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index gained 0.2%, with its financial sector sub-index sliding 0.13%, the consumer staples sector rising 0.98%, and the real estate index falling 0.06%.

** The healthcare sub-index led gains, adding 1.4%. Aier Eye Hospital Group’s shares were among the best performers in the CSI300 index, adding 4.3% to an all-time high close of 48.30 yuan ($6.81) after the company revealed plans for stake purchases in five firms.

** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.67% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.778%.

** Investors remain concerned about the risk of the renewed spread of the new coronavirus after the northeast Chinese city of Jilin said it would impose fresh restrictions on travel to contain the outbreak, with six new cases reported on Tuesday.

** That came after Chinese health authorities on Tuesday called for vigilance to be maintained against the novel coronavirus as new clusters emerge, even though the peak of the epidemic has passed in the country where it first appeared.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.4%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.49%.

** At 0704 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.0923 per U.S. dollar, 0.12% weaker than the previous close of 7.0835.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 5% and the CSI300 has fallen 3.1%, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 11.6%. Shanghai stocks have risen 1.33% this month. ($1 = 7.0948 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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