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China shares end lower; consumer, banks help markets post monthly gains

SHANGHAI, Oct 30 (Reuters) - China stocks closed lower on Friday, dragged by food and beverage firms following slower profit growth in the third quarter, although the indexes posted monthly gains on strength in consumer discretionary and banking shares.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index ended 1.6% lower at 4,695.33, while the Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.5% to 3,224.53. For the month, CSI300 was up 2.4%, while SSEC inched up 0.2%.

** The tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext slipped 1.6%, while the STAR50 index retreated 1.3% on Friday. They climbed 3.2% and lost 1.8%, respectively, in October.

** The CSI SWS food and beverage index slumped 3.8% on Friday, with bellwether Yili tumbling 10%.

** China is targeting sustained and healthy economic development in the five years to 2025, with an emphasis on a higher quality of growth, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee.

** China will set detailed economic targets for the 2021-2025 to help promote higher quality growth, following a meeting of top Chinese leaders, the vice head of the country’s state planner said.

** From the past experience, the market would not see marked movements following such communiques without policy details, said Luo Kun, director of macro strategy center at Chasing Securities.

** Luo also said investors remained cautious ahead of the U.S. election, though he expected marginal impact on the A-share market.

** Leading the gains, the CSI300 consumer discretionary index advanced 11% in October, while heavyweight banking sector jumped 5.7%.

** Analysts expect earnings improvement in China’s banking sector on the back of an economic recovery, which eases pressure on a sector with low valuations.

** China’s economic rebound has been gaining momentum following the sharp COVID-19-driven downturn due to strong exports, pent-up demand and government stimulus. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; editing by Uttaresh.V)