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China stocks edge higher on global sentiment lift; GDP data eyed

Thu 16th April, 2020 8:44am
* Shanghai shares add 0.3%, blue-chips up 0.1%
    * China market joins global stocks higher on recovering
sentiment
    * Gains limited ahead of Fri China Q1 GDP numbers, poor
print seen

    HONG KONG, April 16 (Reuters) - China stocks ended higher on
Thursday on recovering global investor sentiment, but gains were
modest ahead of March-quarter GDP data that is expected to show
an economic contraction for the first time in nearly 30 years.

** The Shanghai Composite index  .SSEC  closed up 0.3% at
2,819.94, while the blue-chip CSI300 index  .CSI300  gained
0.1%, having fitted in and out of negative territory.
    
** CSI300's financial sector sub-index  .CSI300FS  was higher by
0.1%, the consumer staples sector  .CSI000912  was down 0.3% and
the healthcare sub-index  .CSI300HC  edged up 0.4%.
 
** The smaller Shenzhen index  .SZSC  added 0.5% and the
start-up board ChiNext Composite index  .CNT  gained by 1.6%.
    
** China is expected to publish its first-quarter GDP, activity
data 0200 GMT on Friday.
    
** A Reuters poll shows the coronavirus crisis likely knocked
China's economy into its first decline since at least 1992 in
the first quarter, raising the heat on authorities to do more to
restore growth as mounting job losses threaten social stability.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2C10RL
    
** "Although the market is already expecting the shock to
first-quarter economic activity, the difficult reality of
company performance will nevertheless pressure share prices,"
analysts at Everbright Securities wrote in a note.
    
** But Alex Wong, director at Ample Finance in Hong Kong, said
investors care less about GDP data in China than whether the
epidemic comes under control globally, which explains why
A-shares followed U.S. futures higher in afternoon trade.
    
** S&P E-mini futures  ESv1  were up 0.8% at 0740 GMT and
European futures also pointed higher.  FFIc1   GDAXI 
    
** "GDP is lagging so it wouldn't matter as much because people
(in markets) will focus on the future... One thing we are seeing
(in China) is better consumer behavior," said Wong.
"Sentiment-wise, it's not too bad right now."
    
** China reported fewer new coronavirus cases involving
travellers arriving from overseas, but locally transmitted
infections rose, with the Chinese capital seeing new local cases
for the first time in more than three weeks.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2C40AV
    
** China's new home prices in March grew at their slowest annual
pace since June 2018, but a pick-up in momentum reflected some
signs of recovery. The CSI300 real estate index  .CSI000952 
ticked up 0.4%.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2C30VY
 
** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index
 .MIAPJ0000PUS  was weaker by 0.4%, paring losses from earlier
in the day, while Japan's Nikkei index  .N225  closed down 1.3%.
 
** At 0703 GMT, the onshore yuan  CNY=CFXS  was 0.09% weaker
7.0751 at 7.0766 per U.S. dollar. 
 
** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 7.5% and
the CSI300 has fallen 7.2%. Shanghai stocks have risen 2.5% this
month. 
 
** About 20.30 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai
exchange. The volume in the previous trading session was 20.56
billion.
    

 (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)
 ((Noah.Sin@thomsonreuters.com; +852 5202 7991; Reuters
Messaging: noah.sin.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: https://twitter.com/noah_sin))
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