April 24, 2020 / 7:35 AM / a month ago

China stocks end week lower; continued policy support curb losses

SHANGHAI, April 24 (Reuters) - Chinese shares fell on Friday and ended the week lower amid lingering coronavirus worries, but losses were limited as Beijing pledged more support to shore up the world’s second- largest economy.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.9% to 3,796.97, while the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.1% to 2,808.53.

** For the week, both SSEC and CSI300 shed 1.1% each, but narrower than the 1.7% fall of MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan.

** China’s central bank cut the interest rate on its targeted medium-term lending facility (TMLF) on Friday, following similar reductions to borrowing costs on other liquidity tools in the past few weeks to support the economy.

** “The role of TMLF as a low-cost alternative to MLF is diminishing, as there are various measures providing cheaper funding already,” said Frances Cheung, head of Asia macro strategy at Westpac in Singapore.

** Friday’s decline was in line with other Asian markets, spurred by doubts about progress in developing drugs to treat COVID-19 and new evidence of U.S. economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

** U.S. business activity plumbed record lows in April, mirroring dire figures from Europe and Asia as strict stay-at-home orders crushed production, supply chains and consumer spending, a survey showed.

** Bucking the broad retreat on Friday, China’s new energy vehicle-related shares climbed as Beijing planned to extend subsidies for buying NEVs.

** China is stepping up measures to boost domestic demand, including the latest NEV subsidy extension plan, Everbright Securities noted in report.

** Long-term value investors could gradually buy stocks now, as A-shares’ valuations are relatively low, the brokerage added.

** Mainland China reported 6 new coronavirus cases as of end-April 23, down from 10 reported a day earlier, putting the total number of COVID-19 infections at 82,804. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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