China stocks firm on policy support; Hong Kong slips

* SSEC 0.6%, CSI300 0.6%, HSI -0.2%

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 3.2%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 0.2%

* FTSE China A50 +0.5%

SHANGHAI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China stocks started the week on a firm note, as investors cheered Beijing’s continued policy support to shore up its economy hurt by the coronavirus crisis.

** The CSI300 index rose 0.6% to 5,027.60 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6% to 3,414.72.

** The tech-heavy start-up board ChiNext rose 2.2%, while Shanghai’s STAR50 index added 1.8%.

** Leading the gains, the CSI300 industrials index and the CSI300 IT index rose 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively.

** China will maintain policy support for its economic recovery, avoiding a sudden shift in policy, to help keep economic growth within a reasonable range in 2021, the Xinhua news agency said on Friday, after a meeting of top leaders ended.

** The annual Central Economic Work Conference, a gathering of top leaders and policymakers to chart the economy’s course in 2021, is being watched by investors amid speculation that Beijing would make policy changes amid accelerating growth, following a virus-induced slump earlier this year.

** “Setting the tone for stable and continued policies lays a foundation for a market rally, providing opportunities for both growth and cyclical firms,” Southwest Securities analysts said in a note.

** Bucking the broad strength, surveillance camera maker Hikvision and top chipmaker SMIC eased on index exclusion and U.S. blacklisting.

** SMIC said on Sunday that being put on a U.S. trade blacklist would pose a significant adverse impact to its research and development in its 10-nanometer and more advanced chip technology. [nP8N2IW017

** The Hang Seng index dropped 0.2% to 26,444.19, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.1% to 10,472.62.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.48% while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.42%. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Brenda Goh)