October 25, 2018 / 8:03 AM / 9 months ago

China blue-chip share index, bucking global trend, ekes out small gain

* Blue-chip CSI300 +0.2 pct, SSEC flat; both down in the morning

* But Shenzhen, ChiNext board post losses

* Government support measures seen aiding sentiment

* Chinese investors have ‘a thread of hope’ - analyst

SHANGHAI, Oct 25 (Reuters) - China’s main stock market indexes clawed back from midday losses, producing a second day of weak gains on Thursday even as other Asian bourses were battered in the wake of Wall Street’s rout.

Analysts said it appeared that a string of recently-announced government measures to boost confidence in Chinese share markets was a factor in Thursday’s change of course.

At the close of trade, China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.2 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index eked out a 0.02 percent gain to 2,603.80 points.

The smaller Shenzhen index, however, ended down 0.3 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index declined 0.8 percent.

“We’ve been in a correction for eight or nine months that has left some boards and sectors at multi-year lows,” said Xiao Shijun, an analyst at Guodu Securities in Beijing.

He said government messages of support and measures to reduce market risk, including of share pledges, had helped to somewhat improve sentiment.

In a note in the morning, when indexes were still down, analyst Liu Min at FXTM China said “While Chinese stocks are burdened by the U.S. market, losses are relatively small. Chinese investors continue to have a thread of hope.”

Also in the morning, analysts at Huatai Securities forecast continuing weakness.

“Share prices are already at relatively low levels, but by no means does this mean that risk assets represented by stocks are going to turn higher,” they said. “We advise standing fast and waiting for policy signals.”

In one of the latest moves to boost market sentiment, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange said on Wednesday that government-backed Shenzhen Investment Holding would issue 1 billion yuan ($144 million) of bonds, raising money to support struggling listed firms.

On Thursday morning, China’s banking and insurance regulator published a notice allowing insurance asset management firms to launch dedicated products that provide liquidity support to listed firms in a bid to reduce risks related to pledged shares.

Those moves helped to lift securities firms, seen as potential beneficiaries of government support. A sub-index tracking the sector ended 3.95 percent higher. The financial sector index gained 1.78 percent.

Other sectors continued their recent slump. The CSI300 consumer sub-index was 2.23 percent lower and health care firms lost 1.53 percent.

Chipmakers were hit following losses by U.S. peers on Wednesday. A sub-index of the CSI tracking IT firms fell 1.1 percent after the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index fell 6.6 percent following mixed results and disappointing forecasts.

A further slide in China stocks could worsen liquidity pressures in a market already strangled by about $620 billion worth of shares pledged for loans.

In currency markets, China’s yuan was slightly weaker on a stronger U.S. dollar. The yuan was quoted at 6.9484 per dollar at 0732 GMT, weaker than Wednesday’s close of 6.9422.

Chinese government bond futures rose slightly as equity markets fell. Chinese 10-year Treasury futures for December delivery, the most traded contract, gained 0.09 percent to 95.535.

$1 = 6.9426 Chinese yuan Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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