China shares edge higher on strong July exports, Hong Kong trims losses
* HSI -0.2 pct, H-shares -0.6 pct, CSI300 +0.2 pct
* Rare earth firms down after China loses appeal at WTO
* China Unicom drops as earnings disappoint
* Melco Crown sinks on lacklustre results and Taiwan probe (Updates to midday)
By Grace Li
HONG KONG, Aug 8 (Reuters) - China shares eked out slim gains in choppy trade on Friday, buoyed by better-than-expected Chinese export growth that helped offset concern about the cooling housing market, while Hong Kong pared its early morning losses.
China's July exports surged 14.5 percent from a year earlier, nearly twice the expected increase, while imports posted a surprising fall of 1.6 percent, the General Administration of Customs said on Friday.
At midday, the CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings rose 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.3 percent at 2,193.15 points. If the gains hold, Friday would be their first winning session in four.
On the week, the mainland indexes were up 0.1 and 0.4 percent, respectively. Continuación...