July 21, 2020 / 7:24 AM / 23 days ago

China shares end higher, virus vaccine hopes boost healthcare stocks

SHANGHAI, July 21 (Reuters) - China shares ended higher on Tuesday, lifted by healthcare stocks as global hopes for a coronavirus vaccine firmed, but profit-taking following the previous session's rally checked gains. ** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.2% at 3,320.89, after flirting with small losses in the afternoon session. The index jumped 3.1% a day earlier. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index added 0.23% with the healthcare sub-index soaring 3.95%, on rising global hopes for coronavirus vaccines following promising studies. ** The smaller Shenzhen index gained 0.72% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was 1.45% higher. ** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.89%, while Japan's Nikkei index closed up 0.73%. ** At 0701 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.9911 per U.S. dollar, 0.01% firmer than the previous close of 6.9915. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Jiangsu Highhope International Group Corp , up 10.12%, followed by BEH-Property Co Ltd , gaining 10.12% and Ningxia Xinri Hengli Steel Wire Rope Co Ltd, up by 10.08%. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were of Xinjiang Youhao Group Co Ltd down 10.06%, followed by Xishui Strong Year Co Ltd Inner Mongolia and Luyin Investment Group Co Ltd, both down 9.97% each. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 8.9% and the CSI300 has risen 14.5%, while China's H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 6.7%. Shanghai stocks have risen 11.26% this month. ** As of 0702 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 32.79% over Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Shanghai stock index has risen by 3.20% to 38.00 trillion yuan ($5.44 trillion). ($1 = 6.9900 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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