* SSEC 3.2 pct, CSI300 3.9 pct, HSI 1.0 pct * China pledges to expand financial market opening * U.S., China resume trade talks in Beijing after ‘productive working dinner’ SHANGHAI, March 29 () – China stock closed higher on Friday to clock the third straight month of gains, as investors cheered Beijing’s pledge to further liberalise financial markets, and on renewed hopes of progress in U.S.-China trade talks. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 3.9 percent to 3,872.34 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed up 3.2 percent at 3,090.76 points. ** For the week, CSI300 edged up 1 percent, SSEC slipped 0.4 percent. ** For the month, CSI300 was up 5.5 percent, while SSEC gained 5.1 percent, both posting their third month of rises in a row. ** China will sharply expand market access for foreign banks and securities and insurance companies, especially in its financial services sector, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday, as senior U.S. officials arrived in Beijing for more trade talks. ** China has pledged to further open its massive financial markets to foreign investors amid a trade war with the United States. Foreign businesses have long complained that liberalisation has been too narrow and implementation spotty. ** The Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index will start including China’s onshore bonds starting next Monday, a milestone in China’s capital markets opening. ** The CSI300 financials index shot up 4.9 percent on Friday. ** Encouraged by Beijing’s stance, foreigners on Friday bought more than 10 billion yuan ($1.49 billion) worth of A-shares via the Stock Connect linking mainland and Hong Kong. ** Hopes of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks also lifted sentiment. ** The mood was brightened after U.S. officials said China has made proposals in trade talks with the United States on a range of issues that go further than it has before, including on forced technology transfer. ** U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday he had a “productive working dinner” the previous night in Beijing, kicking off a day of talks aimed at resolving the bitter trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. ** Sectors spiked across the board, led by consumer firms. ** The CSI300 consumer staples index surged 5.2 percent to the highest level since its launch in 2006, led by liquor giant Kweichow Moutai, which scaled a new peak after posting robust profit growth in 2018. ** “Chances are high that the A-share market has entered into an early stage of a bull run,” domestic brokerage Fortune Securities said in report. ** “Interest rate and reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cuts as well as supply-side reforms in the financial sector are expected if the downside pressure on China’s economy increases as a result of weaker-than-expected previous economic policy stimulus, or in case of relatively significant external shocks,” the brokerage added. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.79 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.82 percent. ** At 0715 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.7166 per U.S. dollar, 0.34 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.7398. ** The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were Sundy Land Investment Co Ltd, up 10.09 percent, followed by Shanxi Coal International Energy Group Co Ltd, gaining 10.08 percent and Shanghai Hongda Mining Co Ltd, up by 10.06 percent. ** The largest percentage losers on the Shanghai index were Suzhou Jin Hong Shun Auto Parts Co Ltd down 10 percent, followed by Orient International Enterprise Ltd losing 9.96 percent and Hunan Huasheng Co Ltd down by 9.08 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 23.9 percent and the CSI300 has risen 28.6 percent , while China’s H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 12.5 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 5.09 percent this month. ** About 37.51 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 95.1 percent of the market’s 30-day moving average of 39.42 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 28.81 billion. ** As of 0716 GMT, China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 24.45 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ($1 = 6.7162 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Rashmi Aich)Our Standards:The Thomson Trust Principles.