Hong Kong stocks end higher, but Sino-U.S. tensions curb gains

* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 9.1%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 7.2%

* HSI +0.2%, HSCE +0.3%, CSI300 +2.1%

* FTSE China A50 +1.3%

July 13 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks ended higher on Monday, tracking other Asian markets, though gains were pared in the afternoon after Beijing announced sanctions against U.S. officials and entities.

** At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was up 44.71 points, or 0.17%, at 25,772.12. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.33% to 10,575.88.

** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 1.3%, while the IT sector dipped 0.44%, the financial sector ended 0.07% higher and the property sector dipped 0.77%.

** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.77%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 2.22%

** Asian shares climbed toward five-month peaks on Monday as investors wagered the U.S. earnings season would see most companies beat forecasts given expectations had been lowered so far by coronavirus lockdowns.

** Investors also cheered Beijing’s continued support to bolster the country’s economy.

** China’s policy steps to support the economy have gained obvious results and it will step up financial support for firms and employment in the second half, a central bank official said on Friday.

** New bank lending in China rose 22.3% in June as authorities continued to boost credit and ease policy to get the world’s second-largest economy humming again after a sharp coronavirus-induced contraction.

** Sentiment, however, was dampened over worries about Sino-U.S. tensions, as Beijing announced retaliatory measures against the U.S.

** China announced on Monday sanctions against U.S. officials and entities, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio, in retaliation for Washington’s sanctions against senior Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority.

** The yuan was quoted at 7.0005 per U.S. dollar at 08:12 GMT, 0.01% weaker than the previous close of 7. (Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)