June 3, 2020 / 7:24 AM / a month ago

China stocks pare early gains to end flat as Sino-U.S. tensions weigh

SHANGHAI, June 3 (Reuters) - China stocks pared earlier gains to end roughly flat on Wednesday, as worries persisted over the ongoing Sino-U.S. tensions.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,983.65, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1% to 2,923.37.

** Both indexes hit a near three-month high in early morning trade, after a private survey pointed to recovery in the country’s service sector.

** China’s services sector returned to growth last month for the first time since January as the economy recovers from strict coronavirus-induced containment measures, although employment and overseas demand remained weak, a private survey showed.

** Adding to optimism for the country’s economic recovery were solid vehicles sales, which are estimated to rise 11.7% year-on-year in May.

** China’s coronavirus outbreak has neared its end, while various stimulative measures are having effects, with growth in investment and consumption expected to speed up, laying a foundation for the rally in the stock market, analysts at Guosen Securities said in a report.

** However, some market participants were cautious, given the simmering tensions between China and the United States over issues, including the coronavirus outbreak and Beijing’s Hong Kong legislation.

** A survey of U.S. businesses on Wednesday revealed deep fears for the future of their operations in Hong Kong if China imposes national security legislation that critics say could curb the financial centre’s freedoms and fuel ongoing protests.

** There are huge uncertainties around the Sino-U.S. relations for now, which could impact investment decisions in the stock market, said Zhang Chengyu, vice general manager of a Beijing-based asset manager.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.69%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1.29%.

** At 0710 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.1092 per U.S. dollar, 0.07% weaker than the previous close of 7.1045. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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