July 26, 2018 / 7:31 AM / 2 months ago

China stocks end lower; trade worries unnerve investors

* Shanghai stocks end lower, blue-chip CSI300 index down

* Gains in Shanghai stocks led by Lotus Health Group Co and losses by Shanghai Tianyong Engineering Co Ltd

* China’s A-shares are at a 18.11 percent premium over H-shares

SHANGHAI, July 26 (Reuters) - China stocks ended lower on Thursday as months of see-sawing U.S.-Sino trade friction stoked uncertainties over the country’s economic growth, prompting investors to take a cautious stance. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index ended down 1.2 percent at 3,536.25 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.7 percent at 2,882.23 points. ** China’s state planner vowed on Wednesday to prevent extensive job losses across the economy and keep unemployment below existing thresholds as trade friction with the United States created uncertainty in the labour market.

** “The escalating Sino-U.S. trade frictions have brought uncertainties to our country’s economic development and especially to employment stability,” Ha Zengyou, a senior official from the state planner, told reporters. ** U.S. President Donald Trump accused China on Wednesday of targeting American farmers in a “vicious” way and using them as leverage to get concessions on trade a day after the administration announced a $12 billion farm aid package.

** The prospect of weaker growth has prompted a loosening of fiscal policy in China as authorities seek to head off a slowdown. Most recently, China’s central bank gave notice to some domestic banks that it would ease a capital requirement to support lending. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.06 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.12 percent . ** At 0704 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.7837 per U.S. dollar, 0.29 percent weaker than previous close of 6.7638. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Lotus Health Group Co, which ended up 10.24 percent, followed by Tianjin Songjiang Co Ltd, which closed 10.18 percent higher and Heilongjiang Interchina Water Treatment Co Ltd, which closed up 10.1 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Shanghai Tianyong Engineering Co Ltd down 9.99 percent, followed by Great-Sun Foods Co Ltd losing 9.93 percent and Jiangsu New Energy Development Co Ltd down by 9.19 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 12.8 percent, the CSI300 has fallen 12.3 percent while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 6.1 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 1.25 percent this month.

** About 16.84 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 122.6 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 13.73 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 16.78 billion. ** As of 07:05 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 18.11 percent 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. ** The price-to-earnings ratio of the Shanghai index was 12.63 as of the last full trading day, while the dividend yield was 2.6 percent. ** So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Shanghai stock index gained 2.69 percent to 30.77 trillion yuan. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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