* HK->Shanghai Connect daily quota used 100%, Shanghai->HK daily quota used 0%
* FTSE China A50 +0.6%
SHANGHAI, April 30(Reuters) - China stocks hit a seven-week high on Thursday after a COVID-19 drug study showed encouraging early results and downbeat data reinforced hopes of further stimulus to bolster the world’s second largest economy.
** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 1.3% at 2,859.21 points, the highest since March 16.
** On the macro front, data showed China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) eased to 50.8 in April from 52 in March. While twin surveys showed China’s factories suffered a collapse in export orders in April, suggesting a full-blown recovery appeared some way off.
** The latest data is not that surprising, as China has the best economic recovery in the world as it has basically brought the coronavirus outbreak under control, said Yan Jinkui, an analyst with Caida Securities.
** Amid the global monetary easing, why should China stocks fall at this moment, while markets overseas rally where virus control is not that good, he added.
** The Shanghai Composite index is set to end April 4% higher, on track for its best monthly gain since December 2019, as investors cheered the reopening of some parts of the country and a slew of stimulus measures.
** A populous region in northern China that includes Beijing will ease restrictions imposed to halt the spread of the new coronavirus, as the country gradually transitions to a new state of normal amid dwindling cases of COVID-19.
** Top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir will become the standard of care for COVID-19 after early results showed it helped patients recover more quickly from the illness caused by the coronavirus.
** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index rose 1.22%, with its financial sector rising 0.92%. The consumer staples sector declined 0.4%, the healthcare sub-index fell 0.49%, while the real estate index rose 0.26%.
** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.57% to 10,040.87, while the Hang Seng Index gained 0.28% at 24,643.59.
** China’s transport ministry said on Thursday it has a pool of transportation projects with a total investment value of 800 billion yuan ($113.02 billion) that can start as soon as funding is guaranteed.
** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.31% while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 2.84%.
** The yuan was quoted at 7.0588 per U.S. dollar, 0.25% firmer than the previous close of 7.0765. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)