China stocks end up as banks gain, tempers disappointment of Ant IPO suspension

SHANGHAI, Nov 4 (Reuters) - China stocks closed higher on Wednesday, underpinned by banking shares, as investors appeared to take in stride the suspension of Ant Group’s closely watched mega-listing, with a strong services activity survey aiding sentiment.

The U.S. presidential election was also on investors’ radar, with the outcome still too close to call although President Donald Trump took the early lead in some key swing states.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.8%, to 4,813.66 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2% to 3,277.44 points.

China on Tuesday suspended Ant Group’s $37 billion listing, thwarting the world’s biggest stock market debut. But analysts said the news could bode well for Chinese banks as it could mean decreased competition from the tech giant.

The CSI30 banks index closed up 1.7%, leading a broad rally in the market.

“...Given what’s going on in the IPO process and the new limit put on Ant Group, banks are probably getting relief”, said Shen Yi, CEO at Shanghai ShenYi Investment Co.

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden said he was confident of victory and Trump accused Democrats of trying to steal the election on Wednesday as a tight White House race came down to a handful of states where vote-counting could take hours or days.

“If Biden is elected, he could cancel U.S. tariffs on China, decreasing Sino-U.S. tensions,” Northeast Securities said in a report.

Overall, the mood was also burnished by the recovery in China’s service sector, with activity extending into a sixth straight month in October, an industry survey showed on Wednesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, commenting on the ruling Communist Party’s recommendations for the next five years, said on Tuesday the country faces a significant increase in risks. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith Editing by Shri Navaratnam)