September 6, 2018 / 4:31 AM / 3 months ago

China blue-chips, HK shares fall ahead of expected U.S. tariffs

* CSI300 -0.2 pct, SSEC +0.2 pct, HSI -0.6 pct

* Investors awaiting possible new U.S. tariffs this week

* Reuters poll sees yuan 1 pct stronger in a year

* Natural gas firms rally on expectations of policy support

SHANGHAI, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Chinese blue-chips and shares in Hong Kong fell on Thursday, though the main Shanghai Composite index posted small gains, with investors cautious ahead of the possible escalation of a trade war with the United States this week.

** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 4.51 points, or 0.17 percent, at 2,708.85.

** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.26 percent, with its financial sector sub-index lower by 0.09 percent, the consumer staples sector down 1.51 percent, the real estate index down 1.26 percent and the healthcare sub-index down 0.48 percent.

** Shares in Chinese natural gas firms are rallying as investors expect them to benefit from Beijing’s policies to support the sector. China’s State Council said the government is considering extending subsidies for unconventional natural gas production, and will push the gasification drive in a measured manner in accordance with demand. ** A public consultation period on plans by Washington to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports ends on Thursday. A Bloomberg report said Trump plans to impose the tariffs after that deadline. ** A Reuters poll of more than 50 foreign exchange strategists found expectations that the yuan will gain 1 percent to 6.77 per dollar within a year. Some economists expect an escalation in the trade war would force China’s central bank to intervene more forcefully to support its currency. ** Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group is exploring a deal to cut its stake in AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, the world’s largest cinema operator, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.59 percent at 10,583.4, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.64 percent at 27,068.50. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was down 0.07 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.08 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.53 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.37 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.8371 per U.S. dollar, 0.13 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.8281. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Besttone Holding Co Ltd, up 10.04 percent, followed by BOMESC Offshore Engineering Co Ltd , gaining 10.02 percent and Guizhou Gas Group Corporation Ltd, up by 10.01 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Nanjing Central Emporium Group Stocks Co Ltd, down 10 percent, followed by Milkyway Chemical Supply Chain Service Co Ltd, losing 6.22 percent and Toly Bread Co Ltd , down by 6.06 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 18.23 percent, while China’s H-share index is down 9.1 percent. Shanghai stocks have declined 0.77 percent this month. ** The top gainers among H-shares were CNOOC Ltd, up 2.13 percent, followed by PetroChina Co Ltd, gaining 1.59 percent and Postal Savings Bank of China Co Ltd, up by 1.52 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd, which has fallen 2.78 percent, Tencent Holdings Ltd, which has lost 2.5 percent and ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co Ltd, down by 2.2 percent.

** About 5.35 billion shares have traded so far on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 43.1 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 12.41 billion shares a day. The volume traded was 10.50 billion as of the last full trading day. ** As of 04:01 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 19.33 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 11.38 as of the last full trading day, while the dividend yield was 2.7 percent.

** So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Shanghai stock index has fallen by 0.77 percent to 28.80 trillion yuan. ** In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares rose 0.4 percent while the IT sector fell 1.9 percent. The top gainer on Hang Seng was CNOOC Ltd, up 2.13 percent, while the biggest loser was Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, which was down 3.08 percent.

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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