February 21, 2019 / 7:30 AM / 5 months ago

China stocks reverse gains as benchmark rate cut seen unlikely

* Shanghai Composite and CSI300 indexes down 0.3 pct

* Policy sources tell Reuters a benchmark rate cut is a last resort for PBOC

* Trade talks progress lifted stocks earlier Thursday

SHANGHAI, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Chinese stocks surrendered gains to end lower on Thursday, as enthusiasm over progress in trade talks with the United States gave way to concern that Beijing will not resort to aggressive interest rate cuts to boost growth. ** The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.34 percent to 2,751.80. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index declined 0.27 percent, with its financial sector sub-index falling 0.35 percent. ** The smaller Shenzhen index fell 0.27 percent while the start-up board ChiNext Composite index gained 0.3 percent. ** China’s central bank is not yet ready to cut benchmark interest rates to spur the slowing economy, despite cooling inflation and a stronger yuan, which have fanned market expectations of such a move, policy sources told Reuters. ** The Reuters report follows comments from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that China has not and will not change its prudent monetary policy and will not resort to “flood-like” stimulus. ** Stocks had risen in the morning session, helped by news that the United States and China have started to outline commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade dispute, marking the most significant progress yet toward ending a seven-month trade war, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.21 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.15 percent. ** At 07:17 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.7059 per U.S. dollar, 0.17 percent higher than the previous close of 6.7171. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead Co Ltd, up 10.1 percent, followed by Anxin Trust Co Ltd, gaining 10.09 percent and Shantou Dongfeng Printing Co Ltd, rising 10.06 percent. ** The largest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were Kangmei Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, down 5.04 percent, followed by Triumph Science & Technology Co Ltd, losing 5.04 percent and Guangzhou Pearl River Industrial Development Co Ltd, easing 5.02 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 10.3 percent and the CSI300 has risen 14.4 percent, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 11.6 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 6.47 percent this month. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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