Shanghai stocks ended flat after briefly touching a near five-month high on Tuesday, as investors booked profits following a surge in the previous session. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.2 percent, to 3,439.61 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index briefly hit its highest since Sept. 28 before ending flat at 2,755.65 points. Both indexes had leapt around 3 percent on Monday, having gained more than 10 pct this year, thanks to trade optimism and as Beijing stepped up efforts to shore up the economic growth.
Reports of progress in trade talks between the United States and China have prompted investors to be mildly optimistic that the two countries can reach a compromise by March 1 that will de-escalate their dispute or at least avoid a sharp hike in tariffs, although few details from the talks have emerged. A new round of talks between the United States and China to resolve their trade war will take place in Washington on Tuesday, with follow-up sessions at a higher level later in the week, the White House said on Monday.
China will provide further support for banks' perpetual bond issuance, including examining ways to broaden the investor base for such bonds, to help boost lending in the economy, a vice central bank governor said on Tuesday. China's decision to cut company taxes and fees is an important part of fiscal policy and is a hard-hitting measure needed to cope with pressure on the economy, state media reported Vice Premier Han Zheng as saying.
Shares in Guangdong-based firms surged after Beijing issued guidelines for developing a "Greater Bay Area" around the Pearl River Delta, in a bid to spur growth in Guangdong province and the cities of Hong Kong and Macau. The development plan will "further enhance and support a leading role of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area in national economic development and opening up", China's State Council, or cabinet, said in the guidelines. Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index fell 0.16 percent, while Japan's Nikkei index closed up 0.1 percent.
At 07:09 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.7775 per U.S. dollar, 0.15 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.7675. So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 10.5 percent and the CSI300 has risen 14.2 percent, while China's H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 10 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 6.62 percent this month. As of 07:10 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 18.05 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.
(With inputs from agencies.)