* Both SSEC, CSI300 up 0.4 pct
* Hang Seng +0.5 pct, H-shares gain 0.8 pct
* China, U.S. begin outlining deal to end trade war
SHANGHAI, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Chinese stocks rose on Thursday as signs of progress emerged in ongoing trade talks between the United States and China, raising investor hopes of a trade war detente, and as China’s premier reiterated a commitment to “prudent” monetary policy. ** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.36 percent at 2,771.28 points and the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.38 percent. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.81 percent to 11,320.56, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.53 percent at 28,664.11. ** The United States and China have started to outline commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade dispute, marking the most significant progress yet toward ending a seven-month trade war, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. ** China has not and will not change its prudent monetary policy and will not resort to “flood-like” stimulus, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday. ** Minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve released on Wednesday showed policymakers see little risk to leaving interest rates alone while they take time to assess rising risks, including a global slowdown, and signalled that they will soon set out a plan to stop letting go of $4 trillion in bonds and other assets. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.8 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.72 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.52 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 0.35 percent. ** The yuan strengthened past 6.7 per U.S. dollar to 6.6948 per dollar, 0.33 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.7171. ** The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were Anxin Trust Co Ltd, up 10.09 percent, followed by Hangzhou Cable Co Ltd, gaining 10.04 percent, and Shanghai Shibei Hi-Tech Co Ltd, up by 10.04 percent. ** The largest percentage losers on the Shanghai index were Shanghai Lianming Machinery Co Ltd, down 6.49 percent, followed by Holsin Engineering Consulting Group Co Ltd , losing 4.18 percent, and Shanghai Sinotec Co Ltd , down by 3.91 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 10.72 percent, while China’s H-share index is up 10.9 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 6.83 percent this month. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Great Wall Motor Co Ltd , up 6.02 percent, followed by Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, gaining 5.29 percent, and Air China Ltd , up by 4.31 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Huatai Securities Co Ltd, which has fallen 0.50 percent, China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd, which has lost 0.3 percent, and Bank of Communications Co Ltd, down by 0.3 percent. ** In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares rose 0.8 percent, while the IT sector rose 1.4 percent. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Sunny Optical Technology Group Co Ltd, up 4.55 percent, while the biggest loser was China Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd , which was down 1.54 percent.
Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu