Shanghai stocks finish week lower as global coronavirus cases surpass one million


SHANGHAI, April 3 (Reuters) - Shanghai shares eased on Friday to conclude the week lower, as risk-averse sentiment strengthened on continued spread of the coronavirus with infections surpassing one million globally.

** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index .SSEC was down 0.6% at 2,763.99.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 was down 0.57%, with its financial sector sub-index .CSI300FS falling 0.9%, the consumer staples sector .CSI000912 up 0.52%, the real estate index .CSI000952 down 0.18% and the healthcare sub-index .CSI300HC up 1.05%.

** The smaller Shenzhen index .SZSC ended down 0.47% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index .CNT was weaker by 0.536%.

** For the week, SSEC shed 0.3%, while CSI300 gained 0.1%.

** Global coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million on Thursday with more than 52,000 deaths as the pandemic further exploded in the United States and the death toll climbed in Spain and Italy, according to a Reuters tally of official data.

** Latest survey of China's economy also pointed to more signs of damage from the pandemic.

** China's services sector struggled to get back on its feet in March after a brutal month of unprecedented shop closures and public lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak, a private survey showed on Friday.

** "There are signs of lasting damage to domestic demand, and on top of that the external shock resulting from widespread lockdown in other major economies is arriving fast and furious," analysts from Societe Generale said in a note on Thursday, noting Beijing's stimulus policy response has been "incremental".

** Expectations are running high Beijing would roll out more stimulus to combat the virus damage.

** China has ample policy tools to support the virus-hit economy, but it will tread warily in cutting the benchmark deposit rate due to elevated inflation and the potential impact on ordinary savers, Liu Guoqiang, a vice central bank governor, said on Friday.

** The top official in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic in China, warned residents to strengthen self-protection measures and avoid going out as Beijing preaches vigilance to avoid a resurgence of infections.

** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index .MIAPJ0000PUS was weaker by 0.64%, while Japan's Nikkei index .N225 closed up 0.01%.

** At 0712 GMT, the yuan CNY=CFXS was quoted at 7.0894 per U.S. dollar, 0.1% weaker than the previous close of 7.0821.

** As of 0713 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 27.65% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

((; Reuters Messaging:

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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