March 9, 2016 / 8:09 AM / 24 days ago

Hong Kong stocks end firmer on signs of U.S.-China trade deal progress

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 3.6%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 2.6%

* HSI +0.4%, HSCE +0.4%, CSI300 -0.8%

* FTSE China A50 +0.1%

Sept 26 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks closed higher on Thursday as investors cheered signs of progress towards a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.

** The Hang Seng index rose 0.4%, to 26,041.93, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.4%, to 10,212.27.

** China is in close communication with the United States and is preparing to make progress at trade talks in October, the commerce ministry in Beijing said on Thursday.

** On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said a deal to end a trade war with China could happen sooner than people think and that the Chinese were making big agricultural purchases from the United States.

** However, gains were capped by doubts on whether the latest the round of talks could yield a deal to the nearly 15-month long U.S.-China trade tussle and lingering worries over the political crisis on the island city.

** Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam will hold her first talks with the public on Thursday in a bid to resolve a political crisis that has fuelled nearly four months of sometimes violent protests and plunged the Chinese-run city into chaos.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index edged 0.1% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.13%.

** The yuan was quoted at 7.1286 per U.S. dollar at 08:22 GMT, 0.05% firmer than the previous close of 7.132.

** The top gainers among H-shares were China Merchants Bank Co Ltd up 3.77%, followed by Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd , gaining 3.61% and China Resources Land Ltd, up by 2.34%.

** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were PetroChina Co Ltd, which was down 1.98%, People’s Insurance Company Group of China Ltd, which fell 1.56% and SINOPHARM GROUP CO LTD, down by 1.55%.

** At close, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 29.93% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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