* SSEC -0.4%, CSI300 -0.4%, HSI -0.8%, HSCE -0.8%
* Daily deaths hit record as workers return after prolonged leave
* Food inflation shoots up 20% in January amid hoarding
* Eikon users can click here to track coronavirus-related news and updates on cases here
HONG KONG/SHANGHAI, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Chinese shares snapped a four-session gaining streak on Monday as concerns around the coronavirus outbreak intensified after the death toll crossed 900. ** By the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was and the blue-chip CSI300 index had shed 0.4% each. ** CSI300’s financial sector sub-index fell 0.4%, healthcare shares dropped 2%, while the consumer staples sector edged up 0.05% ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.8%. The Hang Seng Index was also down 0.8% at 27,193.17. ** The smaller Shenzhen index fell 0.2% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.3%. ** Workers began trickling back to offices and factories around China on Monday as the government eased some restrictions on working in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. ** China’s food prices surged 20.6% in January from a year earlier, pork prices more than doubled, while factory-gate prices snapped six months of year-on-year declines in January, according to official data released on Monday. ** Jefferies cautioned investors who were hunting for bargains as companies face a squeeze on working capital. ** “While we recommended to bottom fish by looking at valuation measures less dependent on earnings such as price to sales or EV (enterprise value) to sales, investors should also be aware that many CEOs will look to cut their dividends as a way of preserving cash,” they wrote in a note on Monday. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.5%. Japan’s Nikkei index was also down 0.5%. ** The onshore yuan was 0.16% stronger at 6.9895 per U.S. dollar at 0400 GMT. ** The largest percentage losers on the Shanghai index were Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd, down 10.1%, followed by HPGC Renmintongtai Pharmaceutical Corp, down 10%. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down about 6%. Shanghai stocks have declined 3.8% this month. ** As of midday, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 23.84% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day moving average and below its 200-day moving average.
Reporting by Noah Sin and Luoyan Liu; editing by Uttaresh.V