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China shares end flat on caution ahead of Sino-U.S….

BEIJING, Aug 13 – China shares ended little changed on Thursday, as caution ahead of a U.S.-China meeting this weekend to review the implementation of a bilateral trade agreement offset strength in agriculture stocks on food security concerns. ** Senior U.S. and Chinese officials will review the Phase 1 trade deal and likely air mutual grievances in an increasingly tense relationship during an Aug. 15 video conference.

** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.04% at 3,320.73. ** The blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.26%, with its financial sector sub-index lower by 0.26%, the consumer staples sector up 0.27%, the real estate index down 0.17% and the healthcare sub-index down 1.98%. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.06% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.49%.

** Shares in Chinese agriculture firms surged on worries over the country’s food security due to the coronavirus outbreak and rising U.S.-China tensions, TF Securities analysts said in a report.

** Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co Ltd, Yuan Longping Hightech Agriculture and Shandong Denghai Seeds Co Ltd rose 5.8%, 7.9% and 10%, respectively. ** Shares of CanSino Biologics 688185.SS, the Tianjin-based company that’s researching a potential COVID-19 vaccine, surged as much as 127% to 477 yuan ($68.72)in Shanghai debut.

** China plans to merge domestic broker First Capital Securities with smaller rival Capital Securities, three sources told Reuters, underscoring Beijing’s determination to consolidate the brokerage industry to take on the giants of Wall Street. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.15%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 1.78%. ** At 0703 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.9409 per U.S. dollar, 0.04% weaker than the previous close of 6.9383. (Reporting by Zhang Yan in Beijing and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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