April 2, 2018 / 4:35 AM / a year ago

China stocks begin new quarter on firm note, tech firms lead

    * SSEC +0.2 pct, CSI300 +0.1 pct
    * Hong Kong stock market closed for Easter holiday
    * FTSE China A50 -0.2 pct, BNY Mellon ADR China Select Index

    SHANGHAI, April 2 (Reuters) - China stocks kicked off the
second quarter on Monday with modest gains, led by tech firms as
Beijing pledged more support for emerging industries, and after
data showed the country's factory growth in March was stronger
than expected. 
** At 0404 GMT, the Shanghai Composite index         was up 0.18
percent at 3,174.47, while China's blue-chip CSI300 index
          climbed 0.12 percent to 3,903.19.
** Hong Kong stock market was closed on Monday for Easter
** Gains were led by high-tech firms on the mainland, with the
tech-heavy start-up board ChiNextP             touching a
five-month high, as China vowed more support for high-tech
sectors amid trade tensions with the United States.
** China's finance ministry said on Friday it has introduced tax
breaks for chipmakers made in the country, at a time when the
government is seeking to reduce dependence on foreign
semiconductors amid trade tensions with the United States over
technology transfers.              
** In a move aimed at promoting innovation and aiding China's
economic restructuring, a pilot scheme was announced to
encourage tech, bio-tech and high-end manufacturing firms to
list their shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen.              
** "We need to grasp the historic (investment) opportunities in
leading tech firms, as the pilot scheme is a landmark move that
kicks off the monetization process of China's R&D," China
Merchants Securities wrote in a note.    
** Sentiment was also upbeat after data showed growth in China's
manufacturing sector picked up more than expected in March. 
** The official PMI data suggests that China's economy has
carried more momentum into the first quarter from last year than
analysts had expected, which should keep synchronised global
growth on track for a while longer even as trade tensions build.
** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index
                was firmer by 0.19 percent, while Japan's Nikkei
index         was up 0.47 percent.
** The yuan            was quoted at 6.2797 per U.S. dollar,
0.08 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.2745. 
** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite
index were Neusoft Corp            , which gained 10.01 percent,
followed by China National Software & Service Co Ltd
           , which jumped 9.14 percent and Shanghai Wanye
Enterprises Co Ltd             that climbed 8.55 percent.
** The largest percentage decliners in the Shanghai index were
Taiyuan Lionhead Cement Co Ltd            , which plunged 10
percent, followed by Shanghai Sanmao Enterprise Group Co Ltd
           , which lost 5.63 percent and Sinomach Automobile Co
Ltd             that slipped 5.33 percent.

 (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch, Editing by Sherry
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