Headline indices of the Mainland China equity market closed higher on Monday, 11 February 2019, as investors were speculating about more policy support during the first quarter. Sentiments were also encouraged on US-China trade talk optimism as U. S. and Chinese trade negotiators geared up for a fresh round of discussions this week. At closing bell, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.36%, or 35.66 points, to 2,653.90. The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, added 2.9%, or 37.95 points, to 1,347.94. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 1.82%, or 59.07 points, to 3,306.47. The A-share market was closed last week for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Investors focus remained on U. S.-China trade talks as another round of negotiations is scheduled to start in Beijing this week, with U. S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Trade Secretary Steven Mnuchin meeting Chinese officials on Thursday and Friday.
The latest round of talks follows a meeting between China's Vice Premier Liu He and U. S. officials in Washington at the end of January. A 90-day truce in the trade war between the two nations is scheduled to end on March 1. This week's meeting "probably won't result in a deal because the divergence on intellectual property rights is too big to close, and it is hard for China to make big concessions.
Although the two sides will unlikely reach an immediate agreement on these issues, the market is expecting the deadline to be extended so people are not prepared to be too negative (on share prices) at this point.
There is also relief in the market that listed companies have completed their disclosure in annual reports before the (Spring) Festival. Over 300 Chinese listed firms have said they are likely to report full-year losses of over $15 million each, state media said before the holiday. ** Bunch of profit warnings (before the Chinese New Year) probably strengthened the base. Those who were not convicted were scared out of the market in that wave.
China's retailer and catering enterprises earned over $147.5 bln during the Lunar New Year holiday, the country's commerce ministry said late Sunday.
CURRENCY NEWS: China's yuan weakened against the U. S. dollar on Monday, as the renminbi caught up with the dollar's gains in global markets after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. Prior to market opening on Monday, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 6.7495 per dollar, 414 pips or 0.61 percent weaker than the previous fix of 6.7081. In the spot market, the onshore yuan followed the weakness in the official fixing. It opened at 6.7622 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.7781 by 0328 GMT, 441 pips weaker than the previous late session close and 0.42 percent softer than the midpoint.
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