China blue-chip shares fall as healthcare firms drag

  • CSI300 -0.07%, SSEC +0.14%
  • Healthcare index down 1.73% on govt bulk purchases
  • Yuan firm near four-year highs

SHANGHAI, Jan 26 (Reuters) - China's blue-chip stocks fell on Wednesday as the launch of the latest round of centralised pharmaceutical procurement weighed on healthcare shares, though bargain hunting following the previous session's heavy selling offered some support.

** At the midday break, China's blue-chip CSI300 index (.CSI300) was down 0.07%.

** The Shanghai Composite index (.SSEC) was up 0.14% at 3,437.98 points, a day after posting its biggest daily percentage drop in 18 months.

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** The consumer staples sector (.CSI000912) fell 0.16%, the real-estate index (.CSI000952) slipped 0.98% and the healthcare sub-index (.CSI300HC) lost 1.73%.

** The losses in healthcare firms came as local media 21st Century Business Herald reported that a seventh round of centralised pharmaceutical procurement has been launched, part of a push to lower medical costs for patients.

** New-energy firms (.CSI399808) rose 0.79% after President Xi Jinping said China's ambitious low-carbon goals should not come at the expense of energy and food security or the "normal life" of ordinary people. read more

** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong (.HSCE) rose 0.16% to 8,517.24, while the Hang Seng Index (.HSI) was up 0.16% at 24,283.31.

** The smaller Shenzhen index (.SZSC) was down 0.07%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index (.CNT) was down 0.24% and Shanghai's tech-focused STAR50 index (.STAR50) fell 0.66%​.

** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was firmer by 0.08%, while Japan's Nikkei index (.N225) was down 0.08%.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.3229 per U.S. dollar, near a four-year high. read more

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 5.5%​ and the CSI300 dropped 5.4%, while China's H-share index listed in Hong Kong gained 3.4%. Shanghai stocks have declined 5.54% so far this month.

** In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index, which tracks energy shares (.HSCIE), rose 0.9% while the IT sector (.HSCIIT) climbed 0.5%.

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Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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