SHANGHAI: China shares inched higher on Tuesday, supported by strong gains in healthcare stocks on rising hopes for a coronavirus vaccine, although profit-taking after the previous session's rally kept gains in check.
At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.07% at 3,316.56, after a 3.1% gain on Monday. The blue-chip CSI300 index also rose 0.07%.
Healthcare shares outperformed the broader market amid rising global hopes for coronavirus vaccines following promising studies. A sub-index tracking the sector jumped 2.78%.
The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.27% and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.76%.
Hong Kong shares rose, as news of promising vaccine studies and progress by European Union leaders in reaching a deal on a massive stimulus plan lifted global risk appetite.
Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 1.27% to 10,426.11, while the Hang Seng Index was up 1.88% at 25,529.02.
E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding's Hong Kong shares jumped 6.59% after Ant Group, its fintech arm, said it has started the process of a dual listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's Nasdaq-style Star Market.
Hong Kong shares shrugged off concerns over rising political tensions between China and the United Kingdom after Britain announced it would suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.76% while Japan's Nikkei index was up 0.78%.
The yuan was quoted at 6.9936 per U.S. dollar, 0.03% weaker than the previous close of 6.9915.
So far this year, the Shanghai stock index is up 8.66%, while China's H-share index is down 7.8%. Shanghai stocks have risen 11.04% this month. - Reuters
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