SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Chinese shares rose for a seventh straight session on Wednesday after latest data showed new virus cases in the country fell to their lowest since late January. ** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.21% at 2,907.79 points, while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index gained 0.27%. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.55% to 10,868.23, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.69% at 27,774.09. ** The tech-heavy start-up board index rose 2.1% to its highest since December 2016. The index has outperformed its peers this month as investors favour firms that benefit from lower borrowing costs and have strong growth prospects. ** Across mainland China, there were 2,015 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, the lowest since Jan. 30 when there were 1,982 new confirmed cases, lending credence to a prediction from the country’s senior medical adviser that the outbreak could be over by April. ** Beijing’s policies are the core variable at the moment, Zhang Zhong, an analyst with Guolian Securities wrote in a report, adding that the Chinese economy will quickly stabilize after the virus outbreak gets under control. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index firmed 0.68%, while Japan’s Nikkei index was 0.51% higher. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.9628 per U.S. dollar, 0.05% firmer than the previous close of 6.966. ** There are expectations that China’s central bank may begin an easing cycle amid the virus outbreak, providing ample liquidity to capital markets, Li Xunlei, chief economist at Zhongtai Securities, said in an article. ** The largest percentage gainer in the main Shanghai Composite index was Shandong Jinjing Science & Technology Stock Co Ltd , up 10.11%, followed by Routon Electronic Co Ltd , which gained 10.1%. ** The largest percentage loser in the Shanghai index was Northern United Publishing & Media Group Co Ltd, down 10.01%, followed by Jiangsu Wuzhong Industrial Co Ltd , which lost 6.84%. ** The Shanghai stock index is trading below its 50-day moving average and below its 200-day moving average. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Tom Westbrook; Editing by Aditya Soni)
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