January 23, 2019 / 7:24 AM / a year ago

China stocks end nearly flat as trade woes offset stimulus hopes

* Shanghai stocks higher, blue-chip CSI300 index down

* China to step up fiscal spending this year to support economy

* Trump won’t soften hardline on China to make deal - advisers

SHANGHAI, Jan 23 (Reuters) - China’s major stock indexes ended nearly flat on Wednesday, as hopes of more stimulus measures to shore up economic growth were offset by worries over the Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index slipped 0.1 percent to 3,141.05 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.1 percent to 2,581.00 points.

** China will step up fiscal spending this year to support its economy, focusing on further cuts in taxes and fees for small firms, finance ministry officials said on Wednesday.

** Mounting pressure on the world’s second-biggest economy pushed growth last year to its lowest since 1990 even as Beijing stepped up stimulus measures and spurred banks to lend more.

** Putting a dent on sentiment was a report by the Financial Times that the Trump administration had rejected an offer from China for preparatory trade talks this week ahead of high-level negotiations scheduled for next week.

** White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow pushed back against reports that a preliminary trade meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials was cancelled, saying the story was not true.

** As much as U.S. President Donald Trump wants to boost markets through a trade pact with China, he will not soften his position that Beijing must make real structural reforms, including how it handles intellectual property, to reach a deal, advisers say.

** Huawei suppliers and Chinese telecom stocks were in retreat, after United States said it will seek extradition of the telecoms giant’s CFO.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.07 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.14 percent.

** At 07:11 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.7859 per U.S. dollar, 0.32 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.8076.

** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Zhongnongfa Seed Industry Group Co Ltd , up 10.13 percent, followed by Beijing Dynamic Power Co Ltd, gaining 10.11 percent and Sichuan Hongda Co Ltd, up by 10.11 percent.

** The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were Xinjiang Winka Times Department Store Co Ltd, down 10 percent, followed by Wintime Energy Co Ltd losing 9.8 percent and GuangYuYuan Chinese Herbal Medicine Co Ltd falling 9.13 percent.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 3.5 percent and the CSI300 has risen 4.3 percent, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 5 percent.

** As of 07:12 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 17.51 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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