Financials nudge China shares higher but inflation data caps gains
SSEC 0.1%, CSI300 0.1%, HSI -1.3%
Financial shares rise on hopes for profit improvements
China factory gate prices fall more than expected in Sept
SHANGHAI, Oct 15 (Reuters) - China shares ticked higher on Thursday, lifted by financials as investors continued to expect economic rebound from the COVID-19 fallout, though markets were on edge after data pointed to weak consumer inflation in the world's second-largest economy.
** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index .SSEC was up 0.1% at 3,344.25 points. The blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 was up 0.14%.
** Financial shares .CSI300FS led gains, climbing 1.06% on expectations of profit improvements, after new bank loans grew more than expected in November.
** However, industrial firms .CSI000910 capped the overall rise, falling 0.64% after factory gate prices fell at a faster-than-expected pace in September and consumer inflation slowed to its weakest in 19 months, underscoring the challenges China still faces even as it slowly recovers from the pandemic.
** The smaller Shenzhen index .SZSC was down 0.29%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index .CNT fell 0.81% and Shanghai's tech-focused STAR50 index .STAR50 lost 1.59%.
** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong .HSCE fell 0.75% to 9,846.06, while the Hang Seng Index .HSI was down 1.28% at 24,350.44.
** The slump in Hong Kong shares mirrored losses around the region, as concerns about a surge in COVID-19 cases and an elusive U.S. coronavirus relief package weighed on sentiment.
** MSCI's broadest index of Asian shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.20% while Japan's Nikkei index .N225 lost 0.63%.
** The yuan CNY=CFXS was quoted at 6.7246 per U.S. dollar, 0.16% weaker than the previous close of 6.7136.
** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 9.6% and the CSI300 has risen 17.5%, while China's H-share index listed in Hong Kong is down 11.8%. Shanghai stocks have risen 3.92% this month.
(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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