China's blue-chip index ends at near 2-yr high; tech stocks rise

SHANGHAI, Jan 13 (Reuters) - China’s blue-chip index closed at a near 2-year high on Monday, amid strength in technology shares, as investors turned optimistic ahead of the signing of the Phase 1 trade deal between China and the United States.

** Aiding sentiment was recent official rhetoric that called for bolstering of China’s capital market to propel its economy. ** The CSI300 index rose 1%, to 4,203.99, the highest close since February 2018. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8% to 3,115.57.

** China and the United States will sign the Phase 1 trade deal on Wednesday. The Trump administration has invited at least 200 people to the White House for the ceremony.

** The agreement marks the start of easing in the 18-month long trade war between the countries and aims to alter China’s trade and economic practices, but it will still leave in place tariffs on about $370 billion worth of Chinese imports per year. ** China needs to promote pension investment to bolster its capital markets, Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the country’s central bank said on Saturday, according to local media reports.

** Technology shares jumped, with an index tracking IT shares ending nearly 3% higher, while China’s tech-heavy ChiNext board rose 1.6%.

** The CSI300 financial sector sub-index ended higher by 0.92%, the consumer staples sector up 1.52%, the real estate index up 0.98% and the healthcare sub-index up 0.64%. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 1.36% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.622%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.68%. ** By 0713 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.8997 per U.S. dollar, 0.28% firmer than the previous close of 6.9191. ** The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were Wuxi Commercial Mansion Grand Orient Co Ltd , up 10.12%, followed by CRED Holding Co Ltd , gaining 10.06% and Hangzhou Youngsun Intelligent Equipment Co Ltd, up by 10.04%. ** The largest percentage losers were Beijing Vantone Real Estate Co Ltd, down 10.02%, followed by ButOne Information Corporation XiAn losing 10.01% and Ningbo Shenglong Automotive Powertrain System Co Ltd down by 8.08%. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; editing by Uttaresh.V)