September 7, 2017 / 4:59 AM / a year ago

China stocks hold firm, developers lend support; Hong Kong up

* SSEC -0.1 pct, CSI300 0.0 pct, HSI 0.1 pct

* China should relax stock index futures trading as market recovers - Xinhua publication

SHANGHAI, Sept 7 (Reuters) - China stocks were steady on Thursday morning, supported by strong gains in real estate firms and expectations the economy will remain in good heart through the rest of the year.

Investors were also hopeful that restrictions on futures index trading will be unwound, boosting liquidity to equities.

The CSI300 index was unchanged at 3,849.65 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1 percent, to 3,381.79 points.

The Shanghai index looked set to trade firmly above the 3,300 mark - a level that has proven to be stiff resistance - for the 9th session in a row.

“Chinese stocks are expected to rise at a more balanced pace, with worries over ‘new economy sector’ eased as those growth firms reported solid half-year earnings,” Zhou Guang, analyst with China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC) wrote in a recent note.

The tech-heavy start-up board index ChiNext, a good gauge of growth stocks, has risen 3.3 percent so far this month following a gain of 6.5 percent in August. Growth stocks, such as the tech sector, were avoided earlier in the year as they were widely viewed as over valued.

Expectations the economy will remain largely robust through the year-end count as a key supportive factor for equities, Zhou said.

China’s economy has surprised many by growing at a solid clip this year despite early worries that a crackdown on debt and curbs on the property market will knock output.

There are also hopes that regulators may loosen their grip on the market.

China’s stock market recovery has created the condition for regulators to further relax rules on stock index futures trading and fully exit emergency measures adopted during the stock market turbulence of 2015, an official publication reported on Thursday.

Most sectors were little changed in the morning.

The real estate sector led the gains with a 3.9 percent jump.

Top developer China Vanke jumped nearly 7 percent in Shenzhen to a six-week high, as investors chase industry-leading giants with solid growth and economies of scale.

Hong Kong stock followed other Asian market higher, after U.S. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders unexpectedly agreed to raise the government debt limit until December, eliminating the near-term risk of a government shutdown.

The Hang Seng index added 0.1 percent, to 27,645.26 points.

The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index gained 0.2 percent, to 11,146.58 points.

Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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