* SSEC +0.4 pct, touches new 10-month high; CSI300 +0.1 pct
* Both indexes extend Monday’s rises
* Policy easing expectations contribute to recent rally - UBS analyst
SHANGHAI, April 2 (Reuters) - Chinese shares edged higher on Tuesday in a choppy morning session, with the benchmark equity index hitting a more than 10-month high, as investors continued to take heart from a rebound in manufacturing data and hopes for policy easing. ** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.41 percent at 3,183.31 points. It had earlier risen as much as 0.56 percent, hitting its highest level since May 23, 2018. ** China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.11 percent, having earlier touched a one-year high, with its financial sector sub-index rising 0.47 percent. But the real estate index fell 0.26 percent and the healthcare sub-index lost 1.1 percent. ** Chinese A-shares have been supported by a number of factors, including stronger manufacturing data released Monday, an improved outlook for U.S.-China trade talks and credit growth, abundant liquidity, and investors’ expectations of an imminent cut to banks’ reserve requirement ratios, Gao Ting, head of China Strategy at UBS Securities, said in a note. ** Consumer staples firms fell 1.77 percent, with shares in China’s leading liquor makers dropping as foreigners dumped shares through the Stock Connect programme. ** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.11 percent to 11,570.86, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.09 percent at 29,590.05. ** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.67 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.49 percent. ** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.13 percent while Japan’s Nikkei index was up 0.14 percent. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.721 per U.S. dollar, 0.13 percent weaker than the previous close of 6.7125. ** The largest percentage gainers in the main Shanghai Composite index were AVIC Capital Co Ltd, up 10.08 percent, followed by Asian Star Anchor Chain Co Ltd Jiangsu, gaining 10.04 percent and Sinopec Oilfield Service Corp , up by 10.04 percent. ** The largest percentage losses in the Shanghai index were Hangzhou TianMuShan Pharmaceutical Enterprise Co Ltd , down 9.99 percent, followed by Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co Ltd, losing 5.4 percent and Zhejiang Jiecang Linear Motion Technology Co Ltd, down by 3.67 percent. ** So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 27.12 percent, while China’s H-share index is up 14.2 percent. Shanghai stocks have risen 2.58 percent this month. ** The top gainers among H-shares were China Tower Corp Ltd , up 2.7 percent, followed by Haitong Securities Co Ltd , gaining 2.65 percent and Huaneng Power International Inc, up by 2.64 percent. ** The three biggest H-shares percentage decliners were Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, which has fallen 4.14 percent, Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd , which has lost 1.8 percent and CNOOC Ltd, down by 1.7 percent. ** In Hong Kong, the sub-index of the Hang Seng index tracking energy shares dipped 0.6 percent while the IT sector rose 0.5 percent. The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, up 3.62 percent, while the biggest loser was Sino Land Co Ltd, which was down 2.07 percent.
Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Rashmi Aich