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Financials

China blue chips end higher on healthcare, consumer boost

* Shanghai stocks flat, blue-chip CSI300 index ends higher

* Consumer firms jump on strong northbound flows

* Yuan weakens to 10-day low as markets await LPR fixing

SHANGHAI, July 19 (Reuters) - China’s blue-chip stock index ended higher on Monday, recouping earlier losses, boosted by healthcare and consumer firms and inflows through the Stock Connect scheme. ** At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.37%, after falling as much as 0.93%. The Shanghai Composite index was little-changed at 3,539.12. ** Healthcare firms were the biggest boost to the CSI300, with a sub-index tracking the sector up 2.27% on the day. The consumer staples sector gained 0.3%, and the consumer discretionary index rose 1.32%. ** Foreign investors were net buyers, with Refinitiv data showing inflows of 7.74 billion yuan ($1.19 billion) into Chinese A-shares through the Northbound leg of the Stock Connect scheme through Hong Kong. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.18% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index rose 0.49%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was 1.28% weaker, while Japan’s Nikkei index ended down 1.25%. ** At 07:02, the yuan was quoted at 6.4829 per U.S. dollar, 0.07% weaker than the previous close of 6.4786. The currency hit a 10-day low against the dollar on Monday as investors await the monthly fixing of China’s benchmark loan prime rate fixing. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 1.9% and the CSI300 has fallen 1.9%, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 7.1%. Shanghai stocks have declined 1.45% this month. ($1 = 6.4788 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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