China healthcare, consumer shares fuel strong rally; Hong Kong up

* SSEC 0.4%, CSI300 0.1%, HSI 0.2%

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 1.4%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 2.2%

* FTSE China A50 +0.0%

SHANGHAI, Aug 18 (Reuters) - China stocks eked out gains on Tuesday, extending a previous session’s rally, helped by strong gains in healthcare and consumer stocks.

** The CSI300 index rose 0.1%, to 4,821.10 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4%, to 3,453.35 points.

** The tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext added 0.5%, while the STAR50 index firmed 0.6%.

** Leading the advance, the CSI300 consumer staples index rose 1.5%, having gained 47% so far this year, while the CSI300 healthcare index added 1.8% as investors cheered the progress in the COVID-19 vaccine development.

** Russia’s Petrovax has started a late-stage trial of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine from CanSino Biologics Inc, in the country, records show, as the Chinese drug firm steps up testing abroad to close in on regulatory approval.

** The modest gains came after Monday’s strong rally, as investors turned to financial and other traditional players with low valuations on more signs of economic recovery.

** The benchmark Shanghai index could break through its resistance area given the active trading, and as investors seek opportunities in banking, real estate and construction stocks with low valuations for the short term, Yin Yue, analyst with Yuekai Securities said in a report.

** He noted PBOC’s medium-term loans injection on Monday also alleviated market concerns over the tightening of liquidity following more signs of economic recovery.

** Bucking the broad strength, Huawei suppliers fell as the U.S. tightened restrictions on the Chinese tech giant.

** The Trump administration on Monday moved to crack down on Huawei Technologies Co’s access to commercially available chips.

** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.2%, to 25,385.80 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.5%, to 10,440.21 points.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.72% while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.24%.

** The yuan was quoted at 6.9304 per U.S. dollar, 0.02% firmer than the previous close of 6.9318. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)