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China stocks end lower after Fed's hawkish turn

SHANGHAI, June 21 (Reuters) - China stocks ended lower on Monday, as losses in financials and consumer shares offset gains in new energy firms, after the U.S. Federal Reserve’s surprise hawkish shift last week prompted investors to refrain from placing big bets.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.2% at 5,090.39, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended flat at 3,529.18.

** The CSI300 financials index and the CSI300 consumer discretionary index declined 0.9% and 1.5%, respectively, while the CSI new energy index climbed 1.7%.

** The session’s mixed performance came after both the two indexes logged a three-week losing streak following U.S. Fed’s surprise turn.

** U.S. St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Friday that the U.S. central bank’s shift towards a faster tightening of monetary policy was a “natural” response to economic growth and particularly inflation moving quicker than expected as the country reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic.

** Analysts said a hawkish Fed could lead to a stronger dollar and a weaker yuan, putting pressure on the A-share market by prompting foreign outflows.

** The A-share market will be under heavy pressure against a backdrop of a strong dollar, said Yan Kaiwen, an analyst with China Fortune Securities.

** Meanwhile, the dollar held near multi-month peaks against other major currencies on Monday.

** China kept its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans unchanged for the 14th straight month at its June fixing, in line with market expectations.

** The Financial News, backed by the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC), on Sunday advised against speculating about liquidity tightening and policy direction, saying such action can mislead and roil markets.

** Shares of China’s hog farmers extended losses, as hog futures tumbled to new lows.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 1.29%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed down 3.29%. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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