China stocks climb on drop in new virus cases, hopes for more stimulus

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, April 27 (Reuters) - Chinese shares climbed on Monday on a drop in new coronavirus cases in the country and hopes for more stimulus to counter the outbreak’s economic impact. ** By the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.7% at 2,828.13 points, as investors also awaited the rescheduled date for the parliament’s key annual meeting.

** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was up 1.06%, with its financial sector sub-index 1.51% higher, the consumer staples sector up 1.25%, the real estate index up 1.29% and the healthcare sub-index up 2.23%.

** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.69% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.42%.

** The top body of China’s parliament kicked off its four-day bimonthly meeting in the capital city of Beijing on Sunday. China Daily reported the body is expected to decide on the date of the key annual meeting of parliament this year on Wednesday, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

** China reported three new confirmed coronavirus cases on April 26, down from 11 a day earlier, with no new deaths, the country’s health authority said on Monday.

** The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global coronavirus pandemic began, now has no remaining cases in its hospitals, a health official told reporters on Sunday. ** Profits earned by China’s industrial firms in March fell 34.9% from a year earlier to 370.66 billion yuan, reflecting continued pressure on China’s manufacturing sector amid slowing global demand from the coronavirus pandemic.

** The market is expecting the government to unveil a stimulus package after the first week of May to further counter the economic hit from the pandemic, said Xiao Shijun, an analyst at Guodu Securities.

** Sentiment also improved on expectations that the rescheduled date for this year’s plenary session of the National People’s Congress is likely to be announced soon, Xiao added.

** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 2.06% to 9,854.91, while the Hang Seng Index was up 1.64% at 24,221.92.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.57% while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 2.47%. ** The yuan was quoted at 7.0792 per U.S. dollar, 0.04% firmer than the previous close of 7.0823.

Reporting by Cheng Leng in Beijing, Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Aditya Soni