China stocks rise on policy easing bets, less hawkish Fed

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SHANGHAI, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Chinese shares rose on Thursday, led by non-ferrous metal and new energy stocks, on bets for more policy easing as inflation eased, while signs of less a hawkish stance by U.S. Federal Reserve over rate hikes also boosted sentiment.

The CSI300 index (.CSI300) rose 0.6% to 4,646.49 at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index (.SSEC) gained 0.4% to 3,477.82.

The Hang Seng index (.HSI) dropped 0.6% to 24,564.50. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index (.HSCE) lost 0.6% to 8,630.78.

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** Non-ferrous metal (.CSI000811) gained 3.6%, with lithium stocks leading gains. Youngy Co (002192.SZ) soared 10%, and Ganfeng Lithium (002460.SZ) jumped 8.4%.

** New energy stocks (.CSI399808) rose 3.6%, while new energy vehicles (.CSI399976) went up 3.9%.

** Environmental governance stocks (.CSI399806) added 2.8% after China said it will collect data on soil quality and use in its third national soil survey running from 2022 until the end of 2025, as part of an effort to ensure grain security.

** However, real estate developers (.CSI000952) lost 2%, while tourism companies (.CSI930633) retreated 2.7% as Hong Kong and some mainland cities are battling with COVID-19 outbreaks.

** Data on Wednesday showed China's factory-gate inflation eased to its slowest pace in six months and consumer price growth also softened in January, potentially leaving more room for the People's Bank of China to ease policy to support the slowing economy. read more

** Hong Kong shares were trading sideways but were down 0.6% at midday break, as investors weighed risks of a Ukraine invasion against signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve won't be as aggressive as feared in tightening monetary policy. read more

** The Hang Seng Tech Index (.HSTECH) eased 0.4%, while the Hang Seng Finance Index (.HSNF) dropped 0.9%.

** The healthcare sector (.HSCIH) went up 0.9%, with Wuxi Biologics (2269.HK) jumping 3.9% to become the top gainer on the Hang Seng Index.

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Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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