* SSEC +0.5%, CSI300 +0.1%, best weekly gains since April
* Start-ups outperform as regulator vows easier funding
* U.S., China set for trade talks next week at G20 summit
HONG KONG, June 21 (Reuters) - China stock market ended firmer on Friday, marking its largest weekly gains since early April, as Beijing and Washington prepared for fresh trade talks and regulators promised start-ups easier access to funding.
** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.5% at 3,001.98 points, closing above 3,000 points for the first time since April 30. The index gained 4.2% this week, its largest weekly advance since the week ended April 5. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index added 0.1% on the day and accumulated gains of 4.9% week-on-week, also posting its largest weekly gains since the week ended April 5. ** CSI300’s financial sector sub-index was lower by 0.1%, the consumer staples sector ended down 0.5%, while the information technology index climbed 2.1% and the healthcare sub-index closed up 0.4%. ** The market locked in most of those weekly gains before Friday as the U.S. Federal Reserve said it could ease policy as soon as next month and with other central banks seen following suit. ** Equities were also cheered this week by news that the Chinese and U.S. leaders will meet to discuss trade at the Japan G20 summit next week. China said on Thursday it hoped Washington would bring a problem-solving attitude to the talks. ** Several U.S. companies, including Apple Inc, have opposed the Trump administration’s plan for more U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Apple said the new round of tariffs would reduce the company’s competitiveness and cut the contribution it could make to the U.S. Treasury. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 1.3% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.7%. ** Start-up shares surged after China’s securities regulator on Thursday issued draft rules that would scrap profitability requirements in merger and acquisition deals involving listed companies. ** The watchdog also committed to easing funding channels for listed firms to improve their cash flow, and encourage companies in the high-tech sector and new strategic industries to restructure. ** “In the short run, (the) policy will have relatively strong sentiment boost for Chinext,” analysts at Citic Securities wrote in a note on Friday. They said the rules are “bringing about an institutional dividend for the Chinext board.” ** After rallying on central bank dovishness earlier this week, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.3%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down almost 1%. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 20.4% and the CSI300 rose 27.3%. Shanghai stocks climbed 3.6% so far this month. ** About 28.70 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange. The volume in the previous trading session was 29.10 billion. ** As of 0705 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 27.35% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The Shanghai stock index is above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.
Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips