February 22, 2019 / 7:38 AM / a month ago

China's bluechips post best weekly gain in over 3 yrs on trade deal hopes

* Shanghai stocks higher, blue-chip CSI300 index up

* U.S., China haggle over toughest issues in trade war talks

* China’s Jan home price growth at 9-month low as confidence dips

SHANGHAI, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Chinese stocks climbed on Friday to post their best weekly gains in years, led by gains in brokerage firms, amid hopes of a Sino-U.S. trade deal before the March 1 deadline, after which the United States plans to hike tariffs on Chinese goods.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 2.3 percent, to 3,520.12 points, its highest closing level since July 26, 2018, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended up 1.9 percent at 2,804.23 points, its highest close since September 2018.

** For the week, the CSI300 was up 5.4 percent, its best week since November 2015, while SSEC gained 4.5 percent, its strongest week since March 2016.

** Investors continued to closely watch high-level talks between U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators in Washington, with little more than a week left before a U.S.-imposed deadline for an agreement expires, triggering higher tariffs.

** Top U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators haggled on Thursday over the details of a set of agreements aimed at ending their trade war, just one week before a Washington-imposed deadline for a deal expires and triggers higher U.S. tariffs.

** Reuters reported exclusively on Wednesday that the two sides were drafting language for six memorandums of understanding on proposed Chinese reforms, progress that had helped to lift investor sentiment.

** Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday, the White House said.

** “The hopes of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks could help improve risk appetite, and the stock market rally is expected to extend thanks to robust foreign inflows as China further opens up its capital markets,”Zhou Yu, an analyst with Pacific Securities, wrote in note.

** In late Jan, China said it would ease foreign institutions’ access by combining two inbound investment schemes, while broadening their investment scope to include derivatives, bond repurchases and private funds.

** Financial firms led the charge on Friday, in particular brokerage firms. The CSI SWS securities index, which tracks major securities firms, surged 9.7 percent, having gained 36 percent so far this year.

** Real estate firms ended higher despite data showed China’s home prices growth eased to a nine-month low as confidence dipped.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.28 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.18 percent.

** At 07:15 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.7237 per U.S. dollar, 0.06 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.7198.

** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Zhejiang Hugeleaf Co Ltd, up 10.18 percent, followed by Harbin Hatou Investment Co Ltd , gaining 10.1 percent and Shanghai Aerospace Automobile Electromechanical Co Ltd, up by 10.09 percent.

** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Center International Group Co Ltd down 6.61 percent, followed by Fushun Special Steel Co Ltd losing 4.93 percent and Shantou Dongfeng Printing Co Ltd down by 4.22 percent.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 12.4 percent and the CSI300 has risen 16.9 percent , while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 12.3 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 8.5 percent this month.

** About 30.15 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 169.0 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 17.84 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 29.86 billion.

** As of 07:16 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 18.47 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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