China stocks edge down as investors await policy cues, HK signals

* SSEC -0.4%, CSI300 -0.4%, HSI -1.8%, HSCE 1.1%

* Chinese premier to meet the press as parliament nears close

* U.S. Pompeo says Hong Kong no longer warrants special status

HONG KONG, May 28 () – China shares declined on Thursday as investors were rattled about a standoff between Washington and Beijing over a new Hong Kong law and awaited clues of further policy support from the ongoing Chinese parliamentary meeting.

** The Shanghai Composite index was down 0.4% at 2,826.91 points, retreating from a one-week high hit early in the session. ** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was also down 0.4%, with its financial sector sub-index climbing 0.8%, the consumer staples sector down 0.8%, the real estate index up 0.7% and the healthcare sub-index down 2.5%. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong lost 1.1%, while the Hang Seng Index dived 1.8% to 22,878.98. ** The smaller Shenzhen index slid 1.3% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 2%.

** Investors moved cautiously before potential announcements of policy details and specific signals of support for sectors such as real estate and infrastructure from Beijing, said Linus Yip, chief strategist from First Shanghai Securities.

** Chinese premier Li Keqiang will speak at a press conference on Thursday in Beijing as the annual parliamentary meeting wraps up. ** The proposal for new national security law is expected to be passed on Thursday by the National People’s Congress, though it remains unclear how and when exactly Hong Kong will bring it into effect. ** The retreat from riskier assets deepened after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China’s plan to impose laws in Hong Kong was “only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine” the city’s autonomy and freedom.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.5%, while Japan’s Nikkei index advanced 1.2%. ** The yuan was flat at 7.1677 per U.S. dollar, as of 0415 GMT. The offshore yuan traded near a record low hit overnight. (Reporting by Noah Sin, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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