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China: Stocks climb on stimulus hopes for smaller firms; Hong Kong closes lower

Hong Kong stocks saw small losses in thin trade Tuesday as investors finished early on the last day before the Christmas break.

[SHANGHAI] China stocks inched higher on Tuesday after Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing would consider taking more measures to lower financing costs for smaller companies.

The CSI300 index rose by 0.3 per cent, to 3,979.88, at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 per cent, to 2,970.19.

Mr Li said the measures included broad-based and "targeted" cuts in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR), relending and rediscounting.

Chinese government bond futures edged up in early trade after Mr Li's remarks.

In Hong Kong, stocks slipped in the half day Christmas Eve session.

The Hang Seng index dropped 0.2 per cent, to 27,864.10, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.1 per cent, to 11,042.49.

Hong Kong markets will resume trading on Friday, Dec 27.

Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.08 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei index was down 0.05 per cent.

The yuan was quoted at 7.0104 per US dollar, 0.03 per cent firmer than the previous close of 7.0125.

As of 04:04 GMT, China's A-shares were trading at a premium of 25.26 per cent over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares.