SHANGHAI: China stocks ended higher on Tuesday, as investors waited for an expected U.S. interest rate cut this week.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.4%, to 3,870.32, while the Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.4% at 2,952.34.
** The U.S. Federal Reserve is scheduled to begin a two-day policy meeting later on Tuesday, at which it is widely expected to lower interest rates by 25 basis points. If implemented, it would be the central bank's first rate cut in a decade.
** Also in focus were U.S.-China trade negotiations due to begin in Shanghai on Tuesday, although expectations for progress during the two-day meeting are low with the markets hoping the two sides can at least detail commitments for “goodwill" gestures.
** Most stocks on the newly launched STAR Market extended gains, with only one of the 25 firms ending slightly lower.
** Structural opportunities in China's tech-related sectors are worth attention, given Beijing's urgency to seek tech independence amid a bitter trade war with the United States, investment bank CICC noted in a report.
** Tech sector is expected to be in focus following the official launch of the STAR Market, CICC added.
** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.23%, while Japan's Nikkei index closed up 0.43%.
** At 07:18 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.8868 per U.S. dollar, 0.08% firmer than the previous close of 6.8926.
** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Shanghai Wondertek Software Co Ltd , up 10.01%, followed by Zhejiang Huatie Construction Safety Science and Technology Co Ltd, gaining 10% and Hangzhou Electronic Soul Network Technology Co Ltd , up by 9.98%.
** The biggest percentage losers in the Shanghai index were Beijing Qianjing Landscape Co Ltd down 6.95%, followed by FUREN Group Pharmaceutical Co Ltd losing 5.31% and Beijing Xinwei Technology Group Co Ltd down by 4.94%.
** About 14.83 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 82.5% of the market's 30-day moving average of 17.97 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 12.80 billion.
** As of 07:19 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 29.42% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.