* Shanghai stocks higher, blue-chip CSI300 index up
* Gains in Shanghai stocks led by Qingdao Tianhua Institute of Chemistry Engineering Co Ltd and losses by Dongfang Electric Corp Ltd
* China’s A-shares are at a 27.71 percent premium over H-shares.
SHANGHAI, Feb 22 (Reuters) - China’s major stock indexes scored their best single-day gains in more than 18 months, as investors played catch-up buying after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. The rally was led by consumer and transport firms seen benefiting from the long break when locals splashed out more on trips and consumer goods. ** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 69.57 points or 2.17 percent at 3,268.73, its best single-day gain since August 2016. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 2.17 percent, also its best day since August 2016, with its financial sector sub-index higher by 1.73 percent, the consumer staples sector up 4.19 percent, the real estate index up 1.79 percent and healthcare sub-index up 1.22 percent. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 1.89 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.88 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index down 0.88 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index closed 1.07 percent lower. ** At 07:00 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.3541 per U.S. dollar, 0.14 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.345. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Qingdao Tianhua Institute of Chemistry Engineering Co Ltd up 10.05 percent, followed by Air China Ltd gaining 10.03 percent and Heilan Home Co Ltd up by 10.03 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Dongfang Electric Corp Ltd down 1.97 percent, followed by Shanghai Hongda Mining Co Ltd losing 1.74 percent and Henan Ancai Hi-tech Co Ltd down by 1.71 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 3.27 percent, the CSI300 is up 0.6 percent this year, while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 8.3 percent. Shanghai stocks have declined 8.09 percent this month. ** About 13.87 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 64.3 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 21.57 billion shares a day. ** As of 07:01 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 27.66 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day and 200-day moving average. ** The price-to-earnings ratio of the Shanghai index was 14.68 as of the last full trading day while the dividend yield was 2 percent. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom Editing by Shri Navaratnam)