SHANGHAI, Nov 28 (Reuters) - China and Hong Kong stocks dropped on Thursday as U.S. legislation’s decision to back anti-government protesters in Hong Kong dampened investor sentiment amid lingering concerns over trade negotiations and Beijing’s economic health.
** The CSI300 index was down 0.2% at 3,867.62 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% to 2,894.33 points. ** The Hang Seng index dropped 0.1% to 26,939.47 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.3% to 10,591.52. ** China warned the United States on Thursday that it would take “firm counter measures” after U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law congressional legislation, which supported the Hong Kong protesters. It brings fresh uncertainty to the trade talks aimed at scaling down the damaging tariff war. ** Investors are also worried about China’s economic slowdown. China should lower its economic growth target to around 6% for 2020 and step up stimulus as the trade war has exacerbated a protracted slowdown, government advisers said ahead of a key leadership meeting on the economy. ** Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that China will speed up reforms to help build a market-based, globalised business environment and break investment barriers for all kinds of companies. ** China has also brought forward 1 trillion yuan ($142.07 billion) of the 2020 local government special bonds quota to this year as it seeks to avert a sharper economic slowdown. ** Expectations of further stimulus in the infrastructure space supported shares of construction stocks, but steel makers dropped on profit-taking. ** China’s CSI300 financial sector sub-index was lower by 0.3%, the consumer staples sector down 0.27%, the real estate index lost 0.85% and the healthcare sub-index dipped 0.08%. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.27% at 10,591.52, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.05% at 26,939.47. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was unchanged for the day and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.28%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.13%, while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.05%. ** The yuan was quoted at 7.0277 per U.S. dollar, % firmer than the previous close of 7.0279. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Silvery Dragon Prestressed Materials Co Ltd Tianjin , up 10.1%, followed by Xinjiang Talimu Agriculture Development Co Ltd, gaining 10.07% and Qingdao Topscomm Communication Inc, which gained 10.03%. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were TVZone Media Co Ltd, down 10.01%, followed by Shanghai La Chapelle Fashion Co Ltd, losing 10% and Changzhou Langbo Sealing Technologies Co Ltd, which lost 9.97%. (Reporting by Samuel Shen and John Ruwitch, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)