China stocks end higher for third day on policy-easing support

SHANGHAI, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Chinese stocks extended a rally into a third session on Tuesday, as investors cheered Beijing’s latest policy easing to boost the economy after a private survey showed sluggish growth in the domestic services sector.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.6% at 4,002.81, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5% at 2,991.56.

** The Shanghai SE 50 index, dubbed China’s “Nifty 50” index, which tracks the 50 most representative heavyweights on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, climbed as much as 1.0% to its highest level since February 2018.

** China’s central bank cut the interest rate on its medium-term lending facility (MLF) on Tuesday for the first time since early 2016, as policymakers work to prop up a slowing economy hit by weaker demand at home and abroad.

** Some analysts said Tuesday’s reduction, though modest, may be a sign the central bank is turning more proactive.

** The cut came after a private survey showed China’s services sector activity expanded at its slowest pace in eight months in October as new orders slowed and business confidence hit a 15-month low.

** Beijing has been counting on the services sector, which accounts for more than half of China’s economy, to partly offset sluggish domestic and global demand for manufactured products as a prolonged trade war with the United States drags on.

** Developments in Sino-U.S. trade talks remained in focus, with China pushing U.S. President Donald Trump to remove more tariffs imposed in September as part of a “phase one” U.S.-China trade deal, people familiar with the negotiations said on Monday.

** Global trade barriers must be removed, and countries should uphold basic multilateral trade principles while standing firm against protectionism, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index rose 0.48%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1.76%.

** At 0707 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 7.0119 per U.S. dollar, 0.26% firmer than the previous close of 7.0305.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 20%, and the CSI300 has risen 33%, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 7.4%. Shanghai stocks have risen 2.13% this month.

** As of 0707 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 28.74% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom, editing by Amy Caren Daniel)