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BEIJING: China stocks inched up on Thursday as gains in industrial shares offset losses in the financial and real estate sectors, while news of a new state-owned rare earth group boosted resource stocks.

The CSI300 index rose 0.1% to 4,918.41 points at the end of the morning session, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1% to 3,627.19 points.

Resource stocks gained 1.1%, with rare earth-related stocks leading the charge after state media CCTV reported that China has set up a national rare earths company called China Rare Earth Group Co that will operate under the state asset regulator.

Shares of China Minmetals Rare Earth Co Ltd, which will hold 20.3% of the newly-established conglomerate, rose 3.42% after jumping as much as 8.5% following the announcement.

The utilities subindex was up 1.1%, while the infrastructure index gained 1.2% and the energy subindex rose 1.4%.

Losses in property developers, however, capped the gains, with the CSI300 Real Estate Index down 1.8% as the debt woes of Chinese developers rekindled concerns in the sector.

Risk sentiment was also dragged by the resurgence of new clusters of coronavirus cases.

China's northwestern city of Xi'an imposed tight curbs on outbound travel as well as ordinary commuting within the city as new COVID-19 cases ticked higher.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index added 0.2% to 23,140.28 points, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index was unchanged at 8,193.92.

Energy and material shares led Hang Seng gains on Thursday morning, while tech stocks declined.

Hong Kong shares of e-commerce group JD.Com Inc led losses on the Hang Seng Tech Index, after gaming and social media giant Tencent said it would distribute most of its JD.Com stake to shareholders as a dividend.

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