August 4, 2017 / 5:00 AM / a year ago

China stocks inch up, bolstered by strong resources; Hong Kong flat

* SSEC +0.2 pct, CSI300 +0.1 pct, HSI flat

* China expected to report strong July economic data

* Steelmakers jump on firm demand and tighter supply

SHANGHAI, Aug 4 (Reuters) - China stocks inched up on Friday morning, led by gains in resources firms whose earnings benefited from the ongoing construction boom and prices rising on the government’s push to trim excess capacity.

Investors are also awaiting a flurry of data in coming weeks that could show steady growth in China in July, even as the economy navigates a tighter policy environment.

The CSI300 index rose 0.1 percent, to 3,730.52 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent, to 3,280.76 points.

Resources firms continued to outrun the broader market, with steelmakers leading the advance, supported by firm demand from a construction boom and tighter supply following Beijing’s clampdown on production of low-grade steel.

China has vowed to deepen its structural reforms to cut excess capacity in inefficient sectors, which has tended to push up materials prices.

Baoshan Iron & Steel, the country’s largest steelmaker, jumped 5.8 percent in Shanghai to a more than 2-year high. The stock has gained nearly 30 percent in 2017.

“The strong rally in cyclicals, including steelmakers and non-ferrous metals producers, is not over yet, as valuations for those firms remain low,” Changjiang Securities said in a report.

In sharp contrast with the sustained strength in blue chips, start-up shares remained sluggish, with the ChiNext losing 0.3 percent, as slumping profits at leading tech firms turned investors away.

Speculation in small-cap shares with dim growth prospects has been gradually curbed, as investors attach more importance to performance and fundamentals, the official Xinhua news agency reported, commenting on the recent developments in the stock markets.

Sector performance was mixed in the morning.

Consumer and real estate stocks dragged on the market, while materials and energy firms led the gains.

Hong Kong stocks were flat on Friday morning, with the Hang Seng index unchanged at 27,541.71 points.

The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.1 percent, to 11,014.66.

Dual-listed steelmakers and other non-ferrous metals producers helped send the materials sector higher.

Zijin Mining Group, China’s largest gold miner, added 2.9 percent.

The information technology sector rose 1.3 percent, aided by a gain of 1.4 percent in index heavyweight Tencent Holdings .

Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Lisa Twaronite and Eric Meijer

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