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China stocks end lower as material, property shares weigh

* SSEC -0.4%, CSI300 -0.9%

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used -1.7%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 2.7%

* FTSE China A50 -1.3%

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, March 31 (Reuters) - China stocks ended lower on Wednesday, led by losses in material and property shares, as investors shrugged off data showing manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March. ** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.43% at 3,441.91, and the blue-chip CSI300 index slipped 0.91%. ** The benchmark index lost 1.9% in March, marking its first monthly loss in six months, while the blue-chip index lost 5.4% this month, marking its worst monthly performance in a year. ** Material and property shares led losses during the session, with the real estate index down 1.76% and the material sub-index down 2.62%. ** Shares of Chinese developer China Vanke Co fell 4.37% and pressured the real estate sector, as analysts cut their earnings forecasts after the company’s annual results. Its Hong Kong-listed shares fell around 6%. ** The pullback in stocks comes after a recent three-day rally boosted by corporate earnings, with northbound outflows via the Stock Connect hitting 5.5 billion yuan ($839.07 million) on Wednesday, according to Refinitiv data. ** On the economic front, the official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose to 51.9 from 50.6 in February as factories cranked up production after a brief lull during the Lunar New Year holidays, with improving global demand adding further momentum to a solid economic recovery. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 0.52% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.463%. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.31%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 0.86%. ($1 = 6.5549 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Cheng Leng in Beijing, Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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