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Start-up firms lead gains in China stocks on reform cheer; Hong Kong up

* SSEC 0.2%, CSI300 0.8%, HSI 1.5%

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 2.9%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 2.7%

* FTSE China A50 +0.7%

SHANGHAI, Aug 24(Reuters) - China stocks climbed on Monday, led by strong gains for the tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext, as investors cheered Beijing’s continued market reforms to help foster its tech strength.

** The CSI300 index rose 0.8%, to 4,758.50 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2%, to 3,386.86 points.

** ChiNext rose 2.3%, while the STAR50 index was flat.

** Shares of 18 companies surged on their ChiNext debut on Monday, kicking off a historic reform that will see Shenzhen officially challenge Shanghai for tech listings, while adding fuel to a “technology war” with the United States.

** Based on Shanghai’s year-old STAR Market, the broadening IPO reform will help strengthen the appeal of China’s capital markets at a time when Chinese tech firms face growing U.S. scrutiny and risk of being delisted from U.S. markets.

** “There could be major changes in investor behaviour and way of thinking due to the new trading system and IPO system, which could prompt the regulators to attach more importance to regulations,” said Hu Yunlong, chief investment officer at Beijing Kaixing Asset Management Company.

** “For the long term, the registration-based IPO system is an inevitable part of the market’s institutional arrangements, whose advantages outweigh disadvantages and which could help enhance value-investing philosophy by directing resources to more quality assets,” he added.

** In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 1.5%, to 25,483.06 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 1.0%, to 10,312.40 points.

** Real estate and consumer-related stocks posted strong gains recently, as new virus cases dropped in Hong Kong, raising hopes that lockdown restrictions could be eased soon, said Steven Leung, a Hong Kong-based executive director at UOB Kay Hian.

** The market also got a boost from index heavyweight Tencent’s rally, as it seems the U.S. sanctions on the tech giant could be confined only to the United States, Leung added.

** Tencent climbed 3.8% by the lunchbreak. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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