* SSEC -0.1 pct, CSI300 -0.1 pct, HSI 0.3 pct
* China says to step up RRR cuts to help small firms
* ‘Significant work’ remains in U.S.-China trade negotiations
SHANGHAI, April 8 (Reuters) - Shares in China ended the morning session lower on Monday amid profit-taking following last week’s strong gains, and as investors remained concerned over progress in China-U.S. trade talks. ** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.09 percent at 3,243.64. The index gained more than 5 percent last week. ** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.09 percent, with its financial sector sub-index higher by 0.3 percent, the consumer staples sector up 0.69 percent, the real estate index down 0.95 percent and the healthcare sub-index down 1.06 percent. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.59 percent to 11,761.22, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.29 percent at 30,023.51. ** The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said “significant work remains” in trade talks with China ahead of new discussions scheduled to resume this week. ** In an effort to support the economy, China will step up its policy of targeted cuts to banks’ required reserve ratios to encourage financing for small and medium-sized businesses that play a key role in economic growth. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was down 0.82 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 2.06 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.08 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.16 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.719 per U.S. dollar, 0.02 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.7178. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Danhua Chemical Technology Co Ltd, up 10.08 percent, followed by Anhui Liuguo Chemical Co Ltd , gaining 10.08 percent and Epoxy Base Electronic Material Corp Ltd, up by 10.04 percent. ** The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were Healthcare Co Ltd, down 9.02 percent, followed by Ningbo Yongxin Optics Co Ltd, losing 8.93 percent and JUNEYAO AIRLINES Co Ltd, down by 7.34 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 30.18 percent, while China’s H-share index is up 15.5 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 5.04 percent this month. ** The top gainers among H-shares were Anhui Conch Cement Co Ltd , up 3.72 percent, followed by China Tower Corp Ltd , gaining 3.66 percent, and China Merchants Bank Co Ltd , up by 3.09 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were CITIC Securities Co Ltd, which has fallen 2.89 percent, Air China Ltd, which has lost 2.7 percent and Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, down by 2.6 percent. ** In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares rose 0.8 percent while the IT sector rose 0.4 percent. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd, up 4.3 percent, while the biggest loser was China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd, which was down 3.01 percent.
Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier