SHANGHAI: Chinese A-shares edged higher on Friday, trimming losses for the week, but sentiment was cautious as investors balanced expectations of policy easing against worries of a slowing economy.
** At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.29% at 3,568.67 points.
** China's blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.33%, with its financial sector sub-index higher by 0.48%.
** The real estate index added 0.43% after slipping nearly 4% a day earlier, on expectations that Chinese authorities may soften tactics aimed at the troubled sector.
** China's central bank rolled over maturing medium-term loans on Friday and kept their interest rates unchanged, as investors continue to speculate policymakers might need to ease monetary settings to support the economy amid risks from stagflation.
** "We see some early signs of easing measures from policy makers; that said, the scale and timing of these measures have not been enough to meaningfully reset the caution in the market so far," analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note.
** Energy shares jumped, with the CSI300 sub-index tracking the sector up 1.56% and the coal sub-index up 2.61% as thermal coal prices hit record highs.
** A sub-index tracking gold miners surged 4.95% on the day as the precious metal looked set for its best week in more than five months.
** Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong rose 0.66% to 8,907.68, while the Hang Seng Index was up 0.83% at 25,170.47.
** The smaller Shenzhen index was up 0.15%, the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 1.74% and Shanghai's tech-focused STAR50 index was up 1.32%?.
** Around the region, MSCI's Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.94%, while Japan's Nikkei index was up 1.51%.
** The yuan was quoted at 6.4361 per US dollar, 0.07% firmer than the previous close of 6.4404.