China stocks end higher, supported by consumer and material firms

SHANGHAI, Dec 28 (Reuters) - China stocks rallied on Thursday, underpinned by robust gains in consumer and materials firms.

** At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 21.42 points or 0.65 percent at 3,297.21.

** The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.7 percent, with its financial sector sub-index higher by 0.06 percent, the consumer staples sector up 4.53 percent, the real estate index down 0.12 percent and healthcare sub-index up 0.84 percent.

** The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.45 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was unchanged.

** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.86 percent while Japan's Nikkei index closed down 0.56 percent.

** At 0702 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.544 per U.S. dollar, 0.2 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.557.

** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd up 10.09 percent, followed by Xining Special Steel Co Ltd gaining 10.08 percent and Henan Zhongfu Industrial Co Ltd up by 10.06 percent.

** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Changchun Gas Co Ltd down 7.67 percent, followed by Wenyi Suntech Co Ltd losing 7.21 percent and Shanghai Mechanical & Electrical Industry Co Ltd down by 6.24 percent.

** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 5.55 percent, the CSI300 is up 21.4 percent this year, while China's H-share index listed in Hong Kong is up 23.7 percent. Shanghai stocks have declined 1.25 percent this month.

** About 17.54 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 113.5 percent of the market's 30-day moving average of 15.46 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 16.27 billion.

** As of 07:03 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 29.92 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.

** The Shanghai stock index is below its 50-day moving average and above its 200-day moving average.

** The price-to-earnings ratio of the Shanghai index was 14.71 as of the last full trading day while the dividend yield was 2 percent.

** So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Shanghai stock index has fallen by -0.82 percent to 28.56 trillion yuan. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Sam Holmes)