December 5, 2018 / 7:31 AM / a year ago

China stocks end lower amid trade concerns, dim business outlook

* Shanghai stocks lower, blue-chip CSI300 index down

* Yuan weaker after two-day rally

* Business outlook worsens, cabinet offers support to struggling companies

SHANGHAI, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Chinese shares fell on Wednesday as investor doubts mounted over whether China and the United States will be able to settle their trade dispute before the 90-day deadline expires, and as new data showed a worsening business outlook. ** At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.5 percent at 3,252.00, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.6 percent to 2,649.81. ** The CSI300 financial sector sub-index fell 0.72 percent, while the consumer staples sector ended 0.78 percent higher, the real estate index gained 0.81 percent and the healthcare sub-index added 0.79 percent. ** China’s commerce ministry said on Wednesday that Beijing and Washington will push forward with trade negotiations in the next 90 days and that it is confident that an agreement can be reached, amid growing scepticism that the two sides will be able to reach a substantive deal on a host of highly divisive issues before the deadline. ** U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday held out the possibility of an extension of the 90-day trade truce with China but warned he would revert to tariffs if the two sides could not resolve their differences. ** China’s services sector grew at its quickest pace in five months in November due to an uptick in new orders, a private survey released showed, although the outlook for businesses over the next year worsened for the third month. ** Amid increasing economic headwinds, China’s state council, the cabinet, on Wednesday said that the government will offer financial help to struggling companies that keep staff on payrolls. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.48 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.219 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 1.36 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.53 percent. ** At 07:04 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.8674 per U.S. dollar, 0.44 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.8375. The currency had gained about 1.8 percent against the dollar in the previous two trading days. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Taiyuan Chemical Industry Co Ltd, up 10.05 percent, followed by Anhui Zhongyuan New Materials Co Ltd , gaining 10.04 percent and Xinhua Winshare Publishing and Media Co Ltd, up by 10.03 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Jiangsu Sunrain Solar Energy Co Ltd down 10.04 percent, followed by Tianjin Hi-Tech Development Co Ltd losing 10.02 percent and Luxin Venture Capital Group Co Ltd down by 10.02 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 19.9 percent, the CSI300 has fallen 19.3 percent while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 8.1 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 2.38 percent this month. ** About 15.45 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, about 86 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 17.97 billion shares. The volume in the previous trading session was 16.79 billion. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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