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China shares fall on profit-taking in consumer stocks

* SSEC -0.2%, CSI300 -0.2%, HSI -0.9%

* China’s services sector expands at a slower pace

* China steps up COVID restrictions near Beijing as local infections rise

SHANGHAI, Jan 6 (Reuters) - China shares slid on Wednesday, as investors booked profits in consumer stocks after the blue-chip index hit a 13-year high in the morning session, while a resurgence of coronavirus cases in part of the country also dimmed sentiment. ** At the midday break, China’s blue-chip CSI300 index shed 0.21%, with its consumer staples sector down 0.59%. The financial sector sub-index was higher by 0.29%, the real estate index added 0.3% and the healthcare sub-index was up 0.34%.

** The Shanghai Composite index was down 0.17% at 3,522.72 points. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.18% to 10,754.81, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.87% at 27,410.55. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was down 0.9%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was weaker by 0.98% and Shanghai’s tech-focused STAR50 index was down 0.84%. ** Chinese authorities shut sections of highways running through Hebei province that surrounds Beijing on Wednesday and closed a key long distance bus terminal in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang in efforts to stave off another coronavirus wave. ** The province, which entered a “wartime mode” on Tuesday, accounted for 20 of the 23 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases reported in mainland China on Jan. 5, more than the total of 19 cases in the province in the three previous days.

** China’s services sector activity expanded at a slower pace in December, a private sector survey showed on Wednesday, as sporadic coronavirus outbreaks tempered the recovery in consumer confidence and weighed on new business growth.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.41% while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.55%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.4594 per U.S. dollar, 0.07% weaker than the previous close of 6.455. (Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom)

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