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Consumer companies drive down Chinese stocks; Alibaba and Tencent boost Hong Kong

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* SSEC -0.29%, CSI300 -1.08%, HSI up 0.49%

* Consumer companies lead losses while investors take profits

* Alibaba, Tencent lift Hang Seng after Trump says abandon blacklist plans

SHANGHAI, Jan. 14 (Reuters) – Chinese stocks fell on Thursday, dragged lower by consumer companies as investors continued to take profits after the country’s blue-chip index hit a closing high of 13 years earlier this week.

** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.29% to 3,588.28. ** China’s leading CSI300 index was down 1.08%, with the consumer staples sector slipping 1.85%, followed by healthcare and financials down 0.89% and 0.78%, respectively. ** The decline in consumer businesses was led by distiller Wuliangye Yibin Co Ltd, which fell 3.89%. Wuliangyes stock hit an all-time high last week after jumping more than 119% in 2020. ** Investor sentiment has also been shaken this week as rising COVID-19 cases triggered lockdown of three cities in Hebei Province, which surrounds Beijing. ** China’s national health authority reported 138 new cases of COVID-19 on the mainland on Wednesday, up from 115 cases a day earlier. ** But higher import growth figures for December underscored China’s strong domestic recovery, while exports grew more than expected as global coronavirus disruptions fueled demand for Chinese goods. ** Chinese H-shares in Hong Kong rose 0.71% to 11,264.8, while the Hang Seng index rose 0.49% to 28,375.25. ** Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba and Tencent jumped 4.47% and 4.36%, respectively, after reports that the Trump administration abandoned its plan to blacklist the Chinese giants of technology, as well as Baidu. ** Shares of oil giant CNOOC Ltd jumped 5.19% after S&P Dow Jones Indices announced it would remove the company’s shares from certain indices due to US sanctions. ** The smaller Shenzhen index lost 0.49%, the startup board’s ChiNext Composite index was 0.37% lower, and the Shanghai technology-focused STAR50 index rose 4, 28%. ** The yuan was listed at 6.4715 to the US dollar, 0.05% lower than the previous close of 6.4681. (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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