* Shanghai shares add 2.2%, blue-chips up 2.7%
* U.S. senators, White House strike deal on stimulus
* New confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China fall
HONG KONG, March 25 (Reuters) - China stocks were at a one-week high on Wednesday as U.S. senators and Trump administration officials reached an agreement on a massive economic stimulus bill to cushion the economic hit from the coronavirus outbreak. ** The Shanghai Composite index closed up 2.2% at 2,781.59. The blue-chip CSI300 index gained 2.7%. Both benchmarks hit their highest since March 18 during the session. ** CSI300’s financial sector sub-index rose higher by 2.3%, the consumer staples sector was up 2.1%, the real estate index rallied 5% and the healthcare sub-index gained 3.4%. ** The smaller Shenzhen index rose 2.9% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 3.2%. ** The U.S. Senate will vote on the $2-trillion package later in the day and the House of Representatives is expected to follow suit soon after. ** Earlier, Chinese and other Asian stock markets tracked Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1933, on news that Washington was closing in on a stimulus deal.
** Also helping sentiment, mainland China reported a drop in new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday as imported infections fell and no locally transmitted infections were reported.
** The country appears to be getting back to work. More than one fifth of American companies in China are back to normal operations, a survey showed Wednesday.
** “Overall, retail investors in China are confident in the Chinese stock market ... as the pandemic continues to ease in China, we expect to see more foreign investment flowing into the market,” Toby Wu, senior analyst at eToro, said. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 4.2%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 8%. ** At 0708 GMT, the yuan was 0.23% weaker at 7.0783 per U.S. dollar.
** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 8.8% and the CSI300 has fallen 9.1%. Shanghai stocks have declined 3.4% this month. ** About 27.31 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange. The volume in the previous trading session was 25.70 billion. ** As of 0703 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 28.87% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day moving average and below its 200-day moving average. (Reporting by Noah Sin; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)