SHANGHAI, May 18 (Reuters) - China stocks inched higher on Tuesday, led by gains in energy and transport firms, though Sino-U.S. tensions capped further gains.
** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.32% at 3,529.01, while the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.05%.
** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.13% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.727%.
** The CSI300 energy index and the CSI300 transport index closed up 2.0% and 2.8%, respectively.
** Investors could explore sector-wide opportunities now, including healthcare stocks amid the global coronavirus outbreak, banking and securities firms with low valuations and new energy and liquor firms with solid growth, Wanlian Securities said in a note.
** The whole A-share market could continue to be rangebound for the short-term, as China’s recent economic data was largely in line with market expectations and as Beijing sought to maintain stable policies.
** The U.S. Senate voted 86-11 Monday to open debate on a measure authorizing more than $110 billion for basic and advanced technology research over five years in the face of rising competitive pressure from China.
** Investors reaction to the latest headline on Sino-U.S. competition was mixed. An index tracking China’s semiconductor firms slipped 0.6%, while the CSI IT index rose 0.2%.
** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.61%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 2.09%.
** At 07:01 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.4262 per U.S. dollar, 0.2% firmer than the previous close of 6.4394.
** As of 07:01 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 37.89% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Rashmi Aich)