** At the close, the blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.4 percent lower at 3,403.59, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 percent to 2,791.77 points. ** China's central bank left short-term rates unchanged on Thursday, choosing not to follow a benchmark interest rate rise by the U.S. Federal Reserve despite the risk that it could that it could put renewed pressure on the yuan. ** Profit growth at China's industrial firms slowed to a five-month low in August, fanning concerns about faltering domestic demand in the world's second-largest economy as escalating trade frictions with the United States cloud its outlook. ** Global index provider FTSE Russell said it will start including mainland Chinese shares in its major benchmarks from June next year, in a move that it expects will draw initial net inflows of $10 billion from passive investors. ** The CSI300 financial sector sub-index ended down 0.43 percent, the consumer staples sector fell 0.06 percent, the real estate index lost 0.66 percent and the healthcare sub-index gained 0.69 percent. ** The smaller Shenzhen index ended down 1.26 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 1.44 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.09 percent, while Japan's Nikkei index closed down 0.99 percent. ** At 07:14 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.8747 per U.S. dollar, 0.06 percent firmer than the previous close of 6.8791. The currency largely brushed off the central bank's decision to leave policy unchanged after a widely expected interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were Xinjiang Bai Hua Cun Co Ltd, up 10.03 percent, followed by Shanghai Hongda Mining Co Ltd, gaining 10.03 percent and Shandong Swan Cotton Industrial Machinery Stock Co Ltd, up by 10.03 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology Co Ltd down 36.88 percent, followed by HNA Technology Co Ltd losing 10.08 percent and A-Zenith Home Furnishings Co Ltd down by 10.02 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is down 15.6 percent, the CSI300 has fallen 15.6 percent while China's H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 6.5 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 2.44 percent this month. ** About 12.40 billion shares were traded on the Shanghai exchange, roughly 111.9 percent of the market's 30-day moving average of 11.08 billion shares a day. The volume in the previous trading session was 13.96 billion. ** As of 07:15 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at apremium of 19.81 percent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares. ** The Shanghai stock index is above its 50-day moving average and below its 200-day moving average. ** The price-to-earnings ratio of the Shanghai index was 11.88 as of the last full trading day, while the dividend yield was 2.7 percent. ** So far this week, the market capitalisation of the Shanghai stock index has risen by 0.36 percent to 29.94 trillion yuan.
(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Sunil Nair)